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Tsodilo Hills Cave Paintings

Tsodilo Hills Cave Paintings Site
Tsodilo Hills Cave Paintings Site (Enlarge)

The Tsodilo Hills are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, consisting of rock paintings, rock shelters, depressions, and small caves. It gained its UNESCO listing in 2001 because of its religious and spiritual significance to local peoples, as well as its record of human settlement over many millennia. UNESCO estimates that there are over 4500 rock paintings at the site. The site consists of a few main hills known as the Child Hill, the Female Hill, and the Male Hill (1400 meters). These hills are of great cultural and spiritual significance to the San People of the Kalahari.

Tsodilo Hills Cave Paintings
Tsodilo Hills Cave Painting (Enlarge)

People have used the Tsodilo Hills for painting and ritual for thousands of years. UNESCO estimates that the hills contain 500 individual sites representing thousands of years of human habitation. The hills' rock art has been linked to the local hunter-gatherers. It is believed that ancestors of the San created some of the paintings at Tsodilo, and were also the ones to inhabit the caves and rock shelters. There is evidence that Bantu peoples were responsible for some of the artworks at the hills. Some of the paintings have been dated to be as early as 24,000 years before present.

Tsodilo Hills Cave Paintings
Tsodilo Hills Cave Painting (Enlarge)

There is a managed campsite between the two largest hills, with showers and toilets. It is near the most famous of the San paintings at the site, the Laurens van der Post panel, after the South-African writer who first described the paintings in his 1958 book The Lost World of the Kalahari. The hills can be reached via a good graded dirt road and are about 40 km from Shakawe. By the campsite is a small museum and there is also an airstrip nearby.

Tsodilo Hills Cave Paintings
Tsodilo Hills Cave Painting (Enlarge)


Tsodilo Hills Cave Paintings
Tsodilo Hills Cave Painting (Enlarge)


Tsodilo Hills Cave Paintings
Tsodilo Hills Cave Painting (Enlarge)


Tsodilo Hills Cave Paintings
Tsodilo Hills Cave Painting (Enlarge)

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Tsodilo Hills Cave Paintings, Botswana