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Ancient Rock Art at Sanbona Wildlife Reserve

A visit to Sanbona Wildlife Reserve is a very unique experience. It’s not only about the wildlife, it’s very much a holistic experience. One of the attractions at Sanbona is the bushmen paintings found on site. Some of them date back to between 2000 to 5000 years ago. Sanbona is home to quite a few rock art sites. Unfortunately not all of them are that accessible.

We as rangers go and explore quite often. Every now and again we discover new sites and GPS their cordinates for future documentation and reference. We have two very different styles of painting on the reserve – the San and the Khoi-Khoi. The San paintings are more detailed and a darker red colour due to the ochre. The Khoi-Khoi paintings are more orangey in colour and less detailed. The paint was made from ochre, calcrete, animal blood, animal fat, plant sap and ostrich eggs which they grained to powder.

The Bushman or San were nomadic hunter-gatherers. The Khoi –Khoi were nomadic herders who owned livestock such as cattle and sheep. The Khoi lived in large groups whereas the San lived in smaller groups and were mainly hunter-gatherers. The rock art is a product of what the Shaman envisioned in his trance. The Praying Mantis and the Eland were honored and considered to have great spiritual power.

For more information on Rock Art sites at Sanbona click here

Written by Marco Fitchet