San Rock Art of South Africa

The Spirit Images of the San

Clap your hands and hear the echo. These same rock faces rang with the echoes of the singing and dancing of San people, and the ensuing silence amongst the magnificent sandstone outcrops is a stark reminder that they are gone forever. 

©Roger de la Harpe
San Rock Art. Game Pass Shelter, Kamberg, Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park, KwaZulu Natal.

All that we have left of them is their rich legacy of rock paintings throughout Southern Africa. Rock Art can be described as the overlooked heritage on our doorsteps and South Africa has been called “the richest storehouse of prehistoric mural decoration in the world”, with 15 000 known rock art sites.

These haunting images run the full gamut from dramatic, robust panels containing many figures to the delicate depiction of single antelope and are well worth a closer look.

Rock Art - Signs of the Past

Rock paintings found in South Africa were painted by people called the /Xam, the southern branch of the San tribe of hunter-gatherers that h...more

The Last of the San Rock Artists

The written records of the San folklore, their beliefs and life stories were compiled by German philologist Dr Wilhelm Bleek and his sister-...more