Drakensberg rock art
Did you know?
San Bushman paintings were often made of blood, gall, egg-white and ochre.
The Drakensberg mountains in Kwa-Zulu-Natal have the greatest concentration of San Bushman rock art in South Africa, much of it in remote, supremely beautiful surroundings.
Among the most accessible Drakensberg rock art sites is the open-air Bushman Cave Museum, in the Giant's Castle Reserve, which was established in 1903 and is run by KwaZulu-Natal Nature Conservation. A short walk takes you to the cave, which features 500 rock paintings, some of which are 800 years old.
At Kamberg, in the Estcourt district, you can hike to Shelter Cave accompanied by a guide. To view the excellent art there and return takes four hours, but there is a small chalet camp there.
Nearby Royal Natal National Park offers an easy walk along the upper reaches of the Tugela River, starting from the park visitors' centre and heading into the Sigubudu Valley, to reach some of the rarest San paintings in Drakensberg.
The majestic Cathedral Peak area has a lot of well-preserved paintings in the Ndedema Gorge.
Some of the best Drakensberg Bushman paintings are in remote caves, out of bounds to hikers, and world authorities on rock paintings hold that San Bushman art is the most prolific and strangely sophisticated in the world.
In the Little Berg in the south of the range the Garden Castle area has many of the most famous Bushman caves. These Drakensberg rock art sites are not mapped, and hikers have to find them on their own. The hotel at Bushman's Nek gives directions to some of the caves, and also has a display of rock art.
From the Garden Castle Natal Parks Board office a steepish walk of about 5km takes you to Bushman's Cave. Sleeping in any of the caves in this area is forbidden.
A difficult 4-day hike from Bushman's Nek police post traverses steep slopes, but finding caves adorned with long-hidden paintings is particularly rewarding.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Cathkin's Park reservations (accommodation in the Drakensberg)
Tel: +27 82 780 1356