Mhondoro Safari Lodge & Villa Introduces a Rock Art Excursion in Welgevonden Game Reserve

Mhondoro Safari Lodge & Villa has introduced a guided excursion to the two rock art sites located within Welgevonden Game Reserve in the Waterberg (Limpopo province, South Africa). 

Image Supplied by Mhondoro

Both sites contain layers of San Bushman ‘fine-line’ paintings, as well as later finger-painted images. The images date back hundreds of years, with the oldest paintings likely to be thousands of years old. It is suggested that the San moved around the Waterberg around 2500 years ago, followed later by the arrival of Bantu speaking tribes from West Africa, arriving to trade with their cattle and sheep, as well as grains.

Image Supplied by Mhondoro

The rock art excursion is included in the accommodation rate at Mhondoro, or may be booked by day visitors by prior arrangement (subject to availability), at a cost of R1350 per person, including a bush picnic with cold drinks and house wine.

South African rock art is a precious historical and cultural asset. Visits to the two sites in Welgevonden can be incorporated within the morning and afternoon safari game drives to further enhance and enrich the Mhondoro guest experience. Participants in the interpretive rock art excursion are accompanied by a qualified armed guide from Mhondoro, and will be required to walk about 500m to the rock art sites. Guests will view both rock art sites and learn more about the artists, the state of trance, why the paintings are painted in the different ways, and much more.

The rock art on the overhang of the site referred to as Onverwacht, is located on the banks of the Taaibosspruit. It consists of many different paintings, covering an area of about 30 metres, and includes both finely painted images typically associated with the San, as well as finger paintings and handprints. The latter is considered to be the work of either incoming herder people, or Bushmen whose painting style was influenced as a result of the arrival of herder people in the area.

Image Supplied by Mhondoro

The antelope figures found in this particular rock art site are typical of San fine-line paintings and their spiritual belief. Bushman paintings are thought to be a medium through which the medicine man, or Shaman, shows the community what he experienced when he went into a trance state, visiting the spiritual world after hours of dancing around a fire to reach this point.Some paintings combine the characteristics of human and antelope, where the Shaman draws upon the power of the antelope to become stronger so that it is believed that he can provide special services to the community, including healing the sick, controlling the movements of game to hunt, and making rain.

Other paintings in this site include at least eight sets of arrows, a human figure, and certain geometric designs. Several handprints in yellow can also be seen. Primarily the Bushman used ochre to paint with, but they also used iron oxides, white clay and crushed ostrich shells, while in the last hundred years, coal was used too. Various binders, such as egg white, plant sap and blood were mixed into the paint to ensure that the paint would stick to the rock surface.

The second rock art site within the Welgevonden Game Reserve is called Vanderwaltsdrift, situated on the western bank of the Sterkstroom. Here the paintings occur in two areas, the largest area includes the remains of several finger-painted human figures. Other images that can be seen here are animal spoor, the hoofprint of an antelope species, as well as an elephant footprint, paying homage to the Welgevonden of today, where wildlife is abundant again and many species of game are protected, including the Big 5.

Image Supplied by Mhondoro

About Mhondoro Safari Lodge & Villa

Dutch-owned Mhondoro is a fusion of African chic and edgy European influences. Unique features include a photographer’s dream: a waterhole with underground hide that is connected with the main lodge by a tunnel; and three heated swimming pools.

Privately owned, Welgevonden Game Reserve stretches across 35 000 hectares in the Waterberg and is a mere 2h45-minute drive or a 50-minute flight from Johannesburg. Guests can expect varied terrain and a diverse natural habitat featuring the ‘Big 5’, including a large white rhino population. Guided walks with the endangered white rhino are very popular with guests, as is watching the ‘resident’ herd of elephants who visit the lodge’s waterhole daily. Mhondoro is the ultimate big sky destination, with stunning unimpeded sunrises and sunsets over the Waterberg mountains and valleys. The wildlife experience is complemented by Mhondoro’s luxurious accommodation, indulgent spa treatments, fine cuisine and passionate service.

Mhondoro is child-friendly and welcomes children of all ages. Little travellers can run free at the dedicated open-air play area, which is protected by an elephant fence. A play room in the main lodge is stocked with games where children can enjoy themselves without disturbing other guests, while special children’s activities can also be arranged.

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