Kamberg Rock Art Centre, KwaZulu-Natal
Did you know?
At Waterfall Shelter in Kamberg, rock art paintings are believed to hold magical powers.
There are more than 40 000 San Bushman rock art images in Ukhahlamba- Drakensberg Park, in KwaZulu-Natal, and the Kamberg Rock Art Centre in the Kamberg Nature Reserve helps visitors understand and interpret them.
The paintings at Game Pass Shelter, also known as Shelter Cave, at the Kamberg Rock art site were a 'Rosetta Stone' enabling scholars to find a whole new dimension to San rock art.
At first thought to be simple reproductions of everyday life and hunting by a primitive people, many of the mystical images are now seen as 'therianthropic', or images seen by shamans (healers) while in dance-induced trances.
They reflect the spirituality of the Bushman, who believes Man can take on the potency and powers of animals through a shaman in a trance. The eland had the greatest spiritual power. Large and fat, it was an animal of 'wellbeing, healing, beauty, peace and plenty'.
Paintings in this Drakensberg rock art site show blood flowing back from the heads of therianthropes', shamans who suffered nose bleeds and terrible pain during trances (their arms are extended behind them).
Game Pass images were the first South African rock art to be seen by the rest of the world, and as far back as 1915 they featured in the Scientific American. The Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg Park is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for both its ethnological significance and its great beauty. The paintings are national monuments protected by law.
The Kamberg San Rock Art Centre offers audio-visual material on the San, and you can visit Game Pass Cave with a guide. You follow a path through the grasslands of the Little Berg for 3 hours, and only the last few hundred metres are steep.
Nearby is Waterfall Shelter, where paintings 'impart magical powers' to the water. No wonder the trout in the area have a mystical 'shimmer' to them...
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Bookings for Kamberg trails:
Tel: +27 33 267 7255
Kamberg Rock Art Centre
+27 (0) 33 263 7312