The Tsodilo Hills are located in a remote part of northwest Botswana, in the Kalahari Desert and near the Namibian border. Archeological excavations of the Hills and the area surrounding them indicate that Tsodilo’s human history dates back at least 100,000 years. The main inhabitants have been the !Kung and Hambukushu people, who consider Tsodilo to be their most sacred site and refer to it as the mountain of the gods.
One of the first things that you notice about the Tsodilo Hills is that they’re not really hills at all — they look more like small mountains. They are actually formations of quartz rock, likely created by volcanic activity that occurred hundreds of thousands of years ago.
The rocks themselves are beautiful — they sparkle in the sunlight and have been stained an amazing array of colors from a combination of sun, rain, and minerals.
The Hills are famous for their huge collection of ancient rock art — nearly five thousand paintings dating back at least ten thousand years and almost perfectly preserved. The paintings are everywhere — close to the ground; near the top of the Hills where it’s hard to imagine how a human ever painted them without scaffolding; hidden in caves and niches and crevices at all levels.
While Bonolo and I learned about rock art, the boys found things to climb.
We were only able to spend an afternoon at Tsodilo, but it’s a beautiful area with so much to explore that you could spend days there.
And our parting view — a natural rock formation of a map of Africa! The northeast gets a raw deal, but still, pretty amazing.