About View Rock Art at Nkomazi

The Nkomazi Game Reserve is nestled in a part of South Africa and Mpumalanga that was once occupied by the ancient San folk (once known as the Bushmen). They lived off the rich produce of the land and were experts in understanding its natural highs and lows; the rhythm that becomes its heartbeat. And these tribes left remnants of their lives and culture all over the countryside in the form of rock art.

These paintings adorn the rugged rock faces of the mountains and caves all around the country, and some of it can be seen near Nkomazi. These images are more than 3 000 years old. Many of them depict the spiritual side of their lives and its influence on their ancient customs and traditions.

Stories and accounts were carried down through the generations of San folk, often told by the medicine man around a warming fire as the rest of the tribe listened in awe. Rhythmic dance, song and clapping by members of the tribe that had entered a trace-like state was all part of the experience. Another major part of the custom was the role of the medicine man, or shaman. He would claim to predict the future, come up with medicinal concoctions, and bless their hunting efforts. He was considered to be particularly wise, and was deemed qualified to convey tales and experiences to the rest of the tribe using rock art.

The spots chosen for this rock art had a very specific set of criteria. The rock was believed to represent the medium between the world we know, the world below us, and the world above us. So, it was extremely important that the site chosen accurately portrayed that. The colour was created using mixtures of ochre (red), aloe sap, animal bones, and coal. Eggs and blood were also used, and the proteins in these have been very effective in preserving the colour on the rocks so that visitors can still see the art today.

Taking guided tours of the rock art around Nkomazi offers a fantastic peek into an ancient world that is so different from ours. Be sure to arrange this in advance ()once you have confirmed your accommodation) to ensure that a knowledgeable guide is available for your trip.

Need to Know

WhereNkomazi Game Reserve, Tjakastad Road, Badplaas, 1190, Grass & Wetlands Region, Mpumalanga, South Africa

WhenAvailable to resident guests only.

How muchPrices on request.

More informationSee website

OvernightThe closest town is Badplaas, in Mpumalanga

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