Visual Research Programme – Botswana
BOTSWANA – A RICH & COLOURFUL PATCHWORK OF A DIVERSE WHOLE
Rock Art, Iron Age & Stone Age sites
18 days / 17 nights
Pricing available upon request
Valid January – December 2021
The Batswana are descended mainly from Bantu-speaking tribes who migrated southward into Botswana as recently as 1500 years ago. In stark contrast, the San and Khoi People have lived in this region, mainly in the Okavango-Makgadikgadi area, for more than 20 000 years. Perhaps to their detriment, the migration of African tribes, as well as the influx of the Boer and Europeans, especially the British, somewhat displaced the indigenous hunter-gatherer Bushman Tribes. Today there are still around 35,000 of these people in more secluded areas, many of whom fight a daily struggle to live with, and preserve, their old customs and traditions.
Now a multi-ethic nation, Botswana is one of Africa’s richest, most colourful and diverse countries, with every one of its cultures contributing its own heritage of domestic life, folklore, music, song & dance. In addition, the strong desire of the San and Khoi Communities to retain their heritage has ensured that, even though Botswana continues to evolve as a modern hub, it remains deep rooted in its core traditional values.
Around the world, Botswana is best known for its priceless natural heritage – its semi-arid landscapes of the Kalahari Desert as well as its network of waterways of the Okavango Delta. But very little is known, or documented, of its physical heritage sites, substantiated by the fact that it currently boasts only one official UNESCO World Heritage Site – the sacred hills of Tsodilo in the north western region of the country.
The Tsodilo Hills are the sacred grounds of the first inhabitants of Botswana, the Bushmen. Referred to as the ”Louvre of the Desert”, the Tsodilo Hills boast one of the highest concentrations of rock paintings in the world. In an area of approximately 10 square kilometres, for example, there are over 4,500 paintings – not well dated unfortunately. But with this being said – some of the art work may be really old and others perhaps more modern. Further afield one can find pockets of archaeological evidence and art, made by these indigenous people, that dates back to the Stone Age.
In addition to enjoying the richness of rock paintings in the Tsodilo Hills area, for the more intuitive visitor or student of culture and heritage, it is an old-time place of spirituality, a place that still has the power of attraction for the more modern-day tribal inhabitants of Botswana.
So we know that we will immerse ourselves in a rich heritage of art-works, artefacts, nature, spirituality of old and new, as well as oral heritage. The communities of Botswana consider poetry to be a premier cultural art, which makes for wonderful social interaction, if enticed to share. And when it comes to the preservation of their oral heritage, Botswana’s cultural and heritage fore-runners may be one ahead of the rest. The craft of folklore has been transcribed and recorded, thereby ensuring that it is not lost over the generations, but also meaning that it is more accessible to those who wish to study yet another facet of local heritage.
Your travels through Botswana are going to reveal a true to Africa experience, you will enjoy mostly the artworks of the San and Khoi, with scattered Iron and Stone Age sites, an abundance of local fauna and flora and perhaps most uniquely an opportunity to interact with the people known as Africa’s oldest residents. But, amongst all of this, also keep an eye out for the Baobab Tree! One of the country’s most iconic symbols – under which local matters were discussed and rulings handed down by village elders for centuries. The massive trees are still the centre of rural life for many Batswana. The Baobab is like no other, it stands firm and un-weathered by its surroundings.
INCLUDED IN THE PACKAGE:
- 17 Nights’ accommodation, sharing 2, 4 or 6 persons per unit.
- Daily breakfasts or breakfast packs.
- Daily lunches or lunch packs and dinners.
- Coach or overland vehicles for all scheduled travel and transfers.
- All entrances to museums, monuments, cultural and heritage sites as included in the programme.
- Experienced field guide / tour leader to lead the trip.
- Recreational and safari activities as indicated in the itinerary.
NOTES ON ACADEMIC ACCREDITATION
It is important to note that neither Mr Sidney Miller (the Tour Leader and Archaeologist / Field Specialist) nor Safari Odyssey (the Tour Organizer) are an accredited academic institution. Our role is to provide a structured research / travel programme which provides access to South and southern African archaeological sites, without intervention, but under qualified supervision within the rules set out in our National Heritage Act, Act 25 of 1999. This product enables either the “student” or “tourist” to, at first hand, experience the specific cultural and historical event/s that is of interest to him or her. For research purposes, the course content, structure and field of study or interest can be discussed and collectively decided upon.
OVERVIEW OF YOUR TOUR LEADER, MR SIDNEY MILLER
** Archaeologist, Conservationist and Civil Engineer
Sidney first studied Civil Engineering and worked as such for six years. An interest in the Arts, and specifically in Archaeology, led to a career change in 1986 when he joined the Schoemansdal Museum development team, and in that time completed a Master’s Degree in Conservation of Architecture. After spending four years on the Thulamela Project in the Kruger National Park he became self-employed. Since then he focused on the development of Heritage sites, Heritage Impact Assessments and Conservation of Architecture. He devoted much time in contributing back into a variety of communities the years of experience in the Heritage environment through formal and informal lecturing. In a short overview of Sidney’s experience, the following should be mentioned:
On-site archaeological experience in excavation work / surveying of archaeological site maps / rock art / architecture conservation work / Cultural Resource Management (CRM) Impact Assessment work / publications / reports / dissertations / exhibitions / general heritage surveying for private farm owners / presentation of tours and courses / museum work.
Day 1: Johannesburg and the University of the Witwatersrand (WITS)
Days 2 & 3: Johannesburg to the Waterberg, Limpopo
Day 4: The Waterberg to Serowe, Botswana
Days 5, 6 & 7: Serowe to Kubu Island, Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, Botswana
Day 8: Kubu Island to Maun
Days 9, 10, 11 & 12: Maun to Tsodilo Hills (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
Day 13: Tsodilo Hills to Ghanzi
Day 14 & 15: Camping with the Re-Settled San People at New Xade
Day 16 – New Xade to Jwaneng, Botswana
Day 17 – Jwaneng, Botswana to Khaditshwene, Zeerust
Day 18 – Zeerust to Johannesburg
Experience the stunning beauty, the unimaginable vastness, the isolation and worldliness