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Site number:
Type of site: Cultural
Date: prehistoric
Date of Inscription: 2001
Location: Africa, Botswana, The Ngamiland District, north-west Botswana
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Description: Tsodilo has been called the 'Louvre of the Desert' because it boasts one of the highest concentrations of rock art in the world. In the Kalahari Desert, in an area of only 10 sq. km, over 4,500 paintings are preserved. Through the detailed archaeological record of the area, a chronological account of human activities and environmental changes can be discerned ranging a period covering 100,000 years. The hostile environment of Tsodilo is respected by local communities as a place of worship believed to be frequented by ancestral spirits. --WHMNet paraphrase from the description at WHC Site, where additional information is available.
  Tsodilo is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in northwestern Botswana. It was inscribed in 2001 due to its unique religious and spiritual significance to local peoples, as well as its unique record of human settlement over several millennia. It contains over 4,500 rock paintings in an area of approximately 10 km² within the Kalahari Desert. There are four main hills. The highest is 1400 metres AMSL and located at 18°46′18″S, 21°45′15″ECoordinates: 18°46′18″S, 21°45′15″E. The four hills are commonly described as the "Male", this is the highest, the "Female", "Child" and an un-named knoll. There is a managed campsite between the two largest hills. It is near the most famous of the San paintings at the site, the Laurens van der Post Panel. These hills are of great cultural and spiritual significance to the San peoples of the Kalahari. It is believed that the caves and caverns of the "Female" hill are the resting places of the deceased and various gods who rule the world from here. The most sacred place is near the top of the "Male" hill, where it is said that the First Spirit knelt and prayed after creating the world. The San believe that you may still see the impression of the First Spirits' knees in the rock. Most of the San rock paintings are found on the "Female" hill, the most famous being the "Whale" painting, "Two Rhino's" and the "Lion" on the Eastern face of the "Father". There are numerous other paintings, but relatively few on the outlying hills. Indeed there are so many paintings in obscure places that it is very unlikely they have all been discovered or documented. There are recently installed trails and signs but the paintings are difficult to find without a knowledgeable guide. The hills can be reached via a good graded dirt road and are about 40km from Shakawe. There is also an airstrip. --Wikipedia. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.
Reference: 1. UNESCO World Heritage Center, Site Page.
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