20 September 2012

Rock Art Explorer – Extraordinaire
Central Berg
Antbear Guest House
2 – 5 September 2012
Swiss Explorer

When Andrew of the Antbear Guest house ( ) , contacted me with regards an elderly 81 year old lady who wanted to visit some Rock Art sites in the Drakensberg, I was rather apprehensive , as the rock art sites are quite a walk , and especially the main Shelter Cave site at Kamberg. She was adamant that she could manage, so plans were made to meet with her, and guide her to 2 of the 3 sites available.

Lily Marie was an extraordinary person, with huge determination and fortitude, and 2 memorable days were spent with her. The long hard second day was a real tester for her as the paintings are high up in a cliff face, with a stiff climb to get there

From the Antbear Guest house the early morning and late evening views of the Drakensberg are great , especially as the new days is announced with the early orange blue hues of sunrise, and the fiery oranges and red of sunset.

Pic - 2 Very early sunrise over Giant,s Castle
Pic - 3 A bit later on when the early magic light has disappeared

After breakfast we headed to Giant’s Castle to start our walk to the Main Caves at giants. The Giant’s Castle massive stood out loud and proud in the fresh morning air. On the way we noticed some of the first flowers popping out in the fresh wet ground from the recent rain. Then up through the natural forest path towards the gates. High on a hill on the other side of the valley a number of young eland grazed on the fresh young grass.

Pic - 4 Looking from the path up to the Giant’s Castle massive
Pic - 5 Fresh flowers
Pic - 6 The cool path through the forest
Pic - 7 Eland across the valley

Directly on the hour the local Culture Guide arrived at the gate to meet us to lead the next tour through this fascinating Rock Art museum. Fortunately for us , we were the only people there at the time, so we had the full attention of the guide, who now had time to give Lily Marie undivided attention.

Pic - 8 The start of the hour guided tour at the Bushman Cave scene
Pic - 9 Tall men paintings
Pic - 10 Spiritual figures

Once the guided trip was over, we headed slowly back to the main camp , where we would enjoy a cool drink and lunch on the terrace of the restaurant..

Pic - 11 Waiting for lunch , with Giant’s Castle visible up the valley.

That evening we enjoyed a really spectacular sunset over the Drakensberg , the sun setting over a wide piece of sky , from Cathedral Peak right down to Giant’s Castle.


The next morning turned out to be a very different from the previous day. The sky was overcast, misty and cold, and by the time we reached the Kamberg Nature Reserve, our destination for the day, the weather had gotten worse, with a heavy low mist hiding the top of the hills.

Once we had paid our dues, we were hoping to watch a DVD about the Bushmen , however there was a problem , so we decided to watch the show when we got back. Fortunately , the low mist hid the cliff tops where we would have to climb to, to get to the paintings, this was probably fortunate as the high road can be very daunting to the unfitter person.

Pic - 14 The rock Art Centre at Kamberg
Pic - 15 The cool , misty path ahead, the cliff tops could not be seen due to the low mist.

After 3 hours of steady, slow climbing we reached the painted shelter. The cool , misty conditions did not invite us to sit and check the view as we climbed, but to rather keep moving.

The paintings in this shelter are the most remarkable and beautiful rock paintings in the world.

Pic - 16 The most famous “Dying Eland” freeze in the world
Pic - 17 , 18, 19 incredibly strong drawings Eland

Amongst the animal paintings are some wonderfull depictions of “Fleeting Hunters” running across the landscape.

Pics - 20, 21, 22 Running hunters with bows and arrows across their backs.

After a quick lunch – it was too cold to sit for long, we started our long slow way back down the steep path to the main camp. My companion found the long downhill very difficult to manage – and for many fitter hikers, downhill’s are always harder that the uphill’s.

Once we were on the flatter path, a strange noise drew my attention to look hard into the burnt veld ahead of me, there we saw a young “red winged francolin” eating away very intently at some form of food in the grass.

Pic - 23 Young “red Winged Francolin”

Later a very tired and cold lady arrived at the Rock Art Centre, although it was late , she watched the DVD, then we headed home.

Lily Marie, most certainly one of the toughest characters that I have hiked with. Through extraordinary landscapes and weather, she determinedly saw the areas she had planned back home in Switzerland – one tough Lady.


If you need any advice and guidance with your next berg trip, feel free to contact me at Bergfree Adventures ,

Bergfree Adventures