Friday, 24 June 2011

The Journey to the Lepokole Hills

Those who managed to make it to the end of my post "Challenge Accepted. Challenge Annihilated!" will have already heard about the trip that Thomas, Faisal and I took last weekend to Bobonong and the Lepokole Hills. But the trip was such an (mis)adventure that I thought it deserved a post of its own. 

I'm not going to go into too much detail about the various challenges that we faced and overcame; for that you can read my earlier post (scroll allllllll the way to the bottom!) or check out Faisal's telling of the story at his blog But I did think that the pictures are worth posting. Wow. Understatement of the year.

The dry, red, unforgiving Lepokole Hills
The Hills were a stark contrast to the landscape that I have gotten used to seeing around Bots. Most of what we have seen so far is flat land, covered with scraggly bush and small trees. Occasionally there is a cropfield--usually filled with sunflowers. But the Lepokole Hills were different.They seemed an almost alien landscape; a sharp red against the cloudless blue sky, cliffs and boulders pilled on top of each other to form random lumps in the otherwise flat landscape.  

Cliffs of the Lepokole Hills
The White Tree of Gondor?

Our first glimpse of the cave paintings. How many animals can you spot?
After about thirty or forty-five minutes of easy hiking, we reached our destination: a tall but shallow cave carved out of the base of a hill. Walking through a thin passage between the rock face and thorn trees, the anticipation grew. I was not disappointed. All the trials and tribulations that we had faced in our Journey to find the Chief of Bobonong and the Lepokole Hills faded away as we caught our first site of the San cave paintings we had come to see. 

I have been lucky enough to see some pretty neat things on my travels so far. The Temple of the Tooth in Kandy, Sri Lanka, and Hadrian's Wall while driving from Liverpool back to Herstmonceux were at the top of my list of cool old things. These paintings have jumped right up there with them. It was incredible to be standing in a spot with so much history and culture. The longer we looked the more we were able to see; the outline of a rhino here, stick figure humans hunting with bows and arrows there, kudu, impala, and even what I thought was a giraffe.
Comment on which animals you can see!
A male kudu and some hunters.

But the most amazing thing was how close we were to them. We were asked not to touch the wall, which we of course respectfully agreed to, but the reality is that if we had wanted to, we could have. Its really an amazing experience to be so close to something with so much cultural significance. I was shocked to find out that on average only about ten tourists a month come to visit the caves and Hills.

Thomas and Fais. Touching distance!
This was definitely an experience that was worth everything we went through. The only question I'm left with now is how amazing the Tsodilo Hills, which we hope to visit later in the summer, will be. The Tsodilo Hills are also home to numerous cave painting sites, and are even listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If Lepokole was this stunning, and only gets ten tourists a month, then Tsodilo must be out of this world. I can't wait to see for myself!


1 comment:

  1. all i could think about (which is a little bit weird) was the part in ice age when the drawings on the cave come alive so cool.
    the pictures are stunning--can't wait to see more!!!
    :D :D :D :D :D :D :D miss you but it sounds like you're having an AMAZING time! you are living the dream reb.