The history behind Kruger Park’s rock art

29 Aug The history behind Kruger Park’s rock art

South Africa’s famous ancient rock art is an important part of the region’s history and there’s plenty of fascinating pieces to discover in Kruger National Park.

South Africa’s rock art was created by the San bush men who were thought to have inhabited the country up to 4000 years ago.  Their art gives us a unique and exciting insight into their lives and believes, making it of great historical importance.

The San people are thought to have lived throughout all of South Africa at one point.  However when settlers began to arrive and compete with the bushmen for space it is thought that the San people retreated into the Drakensberg mountains where there was more shelter.

Nearly all of the San people’s rock art depicts humans and animals.  The humans in the paintings appear to be bush men and are often painted naked carrying spears, bows and arrows, occasionally they are shown riding horses.  As well as hunting animals in the painting the bush men can also be seen gathering plants, which suggests they relied on both meat and plants for food.

One animal in particular appears in the San people’s rock art over and over again – the eland.  The rock art makes it evident just how important the eland was to the San people and what a significant part it played it their lives.  The eland is a very large antelope that can be found in South Africa.  Archaeologists that have studied the rock art in great depth believe that the eland was a sacred creature to the San people. Other animals that often appear in the art include cows, pigs, elephants, rhinos, giraffes, dogs, horses, snakes and baboons.

Kruger Park is home to over 130 of these precious rock paintings as well as three very rare rock engraving sites.  It is thought that the rock paintings in Kruger Park are older than many of those that can be found in other areas of South Africa as they are painted on harder rock and do not depict colonial people or domesticated animals.

Explore Kruger National Park and discover its fascinating rock art paintings to learn more about the ancient San people.  Their paintings will transport you back in time and show you the way they lived in a way that is both enchanting and fascinating.