In 2009 we traveled to South Africa for a three week safari camping trip. Our visit included stays in Lesotho and Swaziland, two small landlocked countries filled with tradition, culture, and art. The trip as a whole was life changing. Our days were spent in awe at the magnificence of the African wildlife and the people who carved out an existence amongst it.

Looking back there are some places I wish I paid more attention too, but I wasn’t visiting as I would today. Today I would have made more of a connection with the Shaman paintings near Malealea, Lesotho. I’ve found a connection with the past I hadn’t possessed before, made more so real by the Aztec Shamans who came to guide me in Costa Rica.

If you haven’t seen the documentary film Cave of Forgotten Dreams I encourage you to check it out. It’s incredible how art reaches out from the past to remind us of our ancestors and the lives they lived.

One of the more impressive rock art sites in Lesotho, ancient Ha Baroana, adorns a massive sandstone overhang flanking the Liphiring River near the village of Matela, 40km east of the capital Maseru. Ha Baroana translates as Home of Bushman, and the rock art there, as with most other such sites in Lesotho, is attributed to the San or Bushmen hunter-gatherers who inhabited the region.

It’s no surprise the area is known as the Gates of Paradise Pass.

Lesotho Petroglyph Site

Trail to the Site (Lower Right)

Estimated to be about 2,000 years old, the surviving paintings we saw are faded and spread patchily across the shelter’s tall decurved 70-metre long sandstone wall. It’s surprising just how many different figures reveal themselves amidst the rock’s natural colour and crevices. One can only imagine how impressive and beautiful the site must have been in its prehistoric prime.

The Wall

I’m already compiling a list of petroglyph and petrograph sites across Canada and the western United States that we’ll stop to check out on our road trip next year. This is such a great opportunity to partake of things I always found either fun or simply amazing; exploring, history, culture, and art. I’ve also started to study ancient wisdom and teaching. There’s so much meaning behind these messages from the past.

As of today there’s less than 30 weeks to go before we head out.

Until next time, Namaste friends.

Liphofung (Place of the Eland) is named for the paintings of Africa’s largest antelope left behind on its walls by the San hunter-gatherers who dwelt and performed shamanic rituals in the deep overhang for a period of 5,000 years.

A petroglyph is a rock engraving, whereas a petrograph is a rock painting. In common usage, the two words are synonymous and petroglyphs are found worldwide. They are often associated with prehistoric peoples.

The Hunter

The Shaman

The Ritual Dance

The Travelers

Sotho Guide

Sotho Farmers

Petroglyph Location