Leliekloof Valley of Art, although known to locals and rock art experts for many years, has only recently become a drawcard for local and international visitors. In a steep winding gorge carved out by an ancient river in the Eastern Cape, discover over 20 amazing San rock art sites.

Did you know?

Leliekloof Farm is home to the famous stud of Boran cattle.

Although South Africa is known for its spectacular San rock art, particularly in the Drakensberg Mountains, the Leliekloof Valley of Art is a lesser-known yet exciting and impressive rock art centre.

It was over 70 years ago that Walter Battiss, the famous father of South African Impressionist art, christened Leliekloof the Valley of Art because of the many rock paintings in the vicinity.

Misunderstood and often wrongly interpreted, it is only in the last half century that San rock art has come to be admired, respected and understood. Once believed to be merely representational paintings of animals and people, its spiritual significance has now been revealed.

You'll find Leliekloof Valley of Art in the Ukhahlamba district of the Eastern Cape, where the Skulpspruit River has chiselled a steep, twisting gorge out of sandstone and dolorite.

People lived for centuries here, eking out a hunter-gatherer existence and leaving their cultural legacy on the walls of numerous rock shelters. The paintings themselves give rise to the names of the sites: the Doe and Fawn shelter; the Fertility shelter; the Tusked dassie and Rain animal shelter; the Eland, Woman and Serpent site.

Leliekloof Farm, or Delila as it is also known, is situated 1 800m up on the Stormberg Plateau. The home of Minnie and Dries De Klerk, who not only provide comfortable lodging and superb farm food, but also are experts on the area's rock art, it is the central base for exploring the Valley of Art.

Dries, a mine of information about the rock art sites, will guide you to the various rock paintings, many of which are of superb quality.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Leliekloof Valley of Art
Tel: +27 (0)87 550 o589
Mobile: +27 (0)83 760 7851
Email: sanart@nokwi.co.za
Web: www.leliekloof.co.za

How to get here

Leliekloof Valley of Art can be accessed from Burgersdorp in the west, or Jamestown in the east. Both directions have dirt roads and rough patches, so a 4x4 is advisable.

Get around

You can drive or walk to the various rock art sites.

What to pack

Sturdy walking shoes, hat, sunscreen, binoculars and camera.

Where to stay

Full board costs about R520 per person for two people, and about R420 per person for three or more people. Self-catering options are also available.