Botswana Travel Guide to Tsodilo Hills

Rhino, Rock-art at Tsodilo Hills. Michael EnglishRock-art at Tsodilo Hills
Tsodilo Hills forms one of Africa's premier Bushman rock art sites and are highly recommended as a stop-off, but make sure you allow a day or two to explore the area.

By Ian Michler

Tsodilo Hills

Tsodilo HillsTsodilo Hills consist of a quartzite outcrop just 40 kilometres west of the main road, standing like a beacon in the otherwise flat surrounding Kalahari sandveld. Archaeological evidence discovered amongst the remains of villages here, including pottery, stone tools and simple jewellery, indicates that various groups used the hills as a trading post, stop-over point and place of abode from as olong ago as 100 000 years.

How to Get to Tsodilo HillsCave art at Tsodilo Hills.The hills, near Shakawe, are known to the local !Kung people as the Male, Female and Child, and contain over 4 000 individual paintings, at almost 400 sites, including images of humans, wild and domestic animals, and various geometric patterns and shapes.While some of the paintings may go back a few thousand years, the majority are more recent - dating to the early part of the last millennium. The most modern paintings, of white geometric shapes, are just a few centuries old.A cave in the rock.Presently, the only people living beneath the shadows of the three hills are a small extended family of Kung and a group of Hambukushu, who see Tsodilo as a sacred site, as they believe their people were lowered onto earth by the gods at this site.A view of the cave art.Besides its cultural heritage, Tsodilo also has immense natural beauty, with the trees, birds and incredible vistas all creating a very special atmosphere. Tsodilo is now a national monument and Botswana's first World Heritage Site.A small museum complex has been built, and there is also a bush airstrip as well as various designated campsites here. You can also base yourself at one of two lodges in the area (Nxamaseri and Drotsky's Cabins).Rock formation at ShakaweThe Tsodilo Hills are known to the local !Kung people as the Male, Female (seen here) and Child, and contain over 4 000 individual paintings at almost 400 different sites.<The Van der Post Panel at Tsodilo HillsKabbo House BoatWhile you are in the Tsodilo / Shakawe area, why not include a 3 day River House-boat Cruise in your exploration.
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