Botswana – Tsolido Hills
Tsolido Hills, Rock Art
Before I had met John and Heather the reason why we had been up the north western side of Botswana was to go and see Tsolido Hills a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It was inscribed in 2001 due to its unique religious and spiritual significance to local peoples, as well as its unique record of human settlement over many millennia. It contains over 4,500 rock paintings in an area of approximately 10 km² within the Kalahari Desert.
There are 4 hills, commonly described as the “Male”, this is the highest, the “Female”, “Child” and an un-named knoll. These hills are of great cultural and spiritual significance to the San peoples of the Kalahari.
It is believed that the caves and caverns of the “Female” hill are the resting places of the deceased and various gods who rule the world from here. The most sacred place is near the top of the “Male” hill, where it is said that the First Spirit knelt and prayed after creating the world. The San believe that you may still see the impression of the First Spirits’ knees in the rock.
As you arrive you are taken through a small museum of photos of the surrounding area as well as artefacts and information on the founders of this site as well as local people that have helped preserve the area, for a small fee you can then take a guide as we had done to take you through one of the many routes that you can choose, we took a 2 hour hike through the female hill and it’s advisable to bring water and a good pair of hiking boots due to the terrain that you will go through, it’s a beautiful place to walk and although the guide was very robotic in his delivery of what we saw it’s still useful to have a guide to ensure you see some of the more interesting rock art paintings that aren’t isn’t obvious if you are by yourself.