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the art galleries of the San & Koi

Visual Research Programme – Namibia

Visual Research Programme – Namibia

$ 2615 / per person
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NAMIBIA – THE ART GALLERIES OF THE SAN AND KOI
Rock Art, Iron Age & Stone Age sites

 

11 days / 10 nights
Pricing available upon request
Valid January – December 2021

 

For a sparsely populated country, Namibia boasts an impressively diverse population, from the Bantu-speaking Ovambo and Herero tribes (the latter of which are admired for their colourful Victorian dress) to the Damara minorities, the nomadic San Bushmen and, of course, the German colonisation, all of whom have left their own imprint of language, architecture, art and cuisine.  Namibia’s harsh climate, it seems, made for a rich and colourful cultural heritage, allowing this research tour to explore some of the most impressive artwork sites of Namibia as depicted by its two major local tribes, the San’s rock art and the Koi peoples’ rock engravings.  Many of these sites carry such great historical value that they have been classified as world heritage sites through UNESCO.

 

The Khoisan People: Africa’s Stone Age inhabitants, the largest in Africa, carries many centuries of great historical importance throughout Nambia.  Their amazing Rock art contribution dates back thousands of years.  The Khoisan are largely concentrated around the northern Kalahari.

 

The Nama: Pastoralists who were fearsome fighters in precolonial times.  Eventually, however, fighting for their land as they rose in armed rebellion against German colonial rule led to their destruction and devastating loss of land in the early 20th century.

 

The Damara: Believed to be descendants of the south-western Africa hunter-gatherers, in modern day times they are pastoralists, agriculturalists and skilled copper-smiths, too.

 

The Ovambo: Now the largest ethnic group in Namibia with the majority still living on the floodplains north of Etosha, the Ovambo originally migrated from the shores of the upper Zambezi as far back as the 13th century.  This ethnic group proved to be a leaderin the fight for independence from South Africa.

 

The Herero: The most culturally recognizable ethnic group in Namibia, these historically nomadic herders have fused the old and the new into an ongoing cultural tradition.  Especially attractive is the bright and colourful ankle-length dresses, high necklines, tight bodices, and long puffed sleeve style of dress which the Herero Women adapted with a touch of European fashion from the Victorian period.

 

Visitors to Namibia are often surprised by the strong German influence.  German missionaries were some of the first Europeans in the region, landing in Lüderitz in 1883.  This was followed by a diamond boom which resulted in an influx of European migrants, and also expanded into great trading opportunities especially for German traders.  The German government eventually occupied the territory proclaiming it ‘German South West Africa’.  However, during the course of World War I (1915) Germany lost its colonial possessions, including South West Africa but the German settlers were allowed to stay.  Hence there remains a strong German influence including the language (alongside Afrikaans and English) and historical architecture in Luderitz and Swakopmund, which is reminiscent of a German town in the 1800s.  Older sections of many towns across the country feature buildings with domes, towers, turrets, oriel windows, embellished gables and ornate bay windows.

 

From game-packed parks to the silence and spectacle of the desert – this incredible country – its landscapes, people and wildlife . . . .  is waiting.

 

INCLUDED IN THE PACKAGE

  • 10 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.
  • Etosha (x 2) and Brandberg (x1) game drives.
  • 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.

Tour Plan

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Days 1 & 2: Windhoek

Upon arrival in Windhoek, Namibia, your group will be met and welcomed by our locally appointed guide and tour leader.  A road transfer will take you from the airport to your hotel where you will be accommodated for the next two evenings.  Depending on the time of arrival you will have the afternoon free to enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and some sight-seeing of the city by foot.  On your first evening the group will enjoy a short presentation of the layout and inclusions of your tour over the next 10 days followed by dinner out on the town!   Windhoek, the capital city of Namibia, was officially founded in 1890 when the Germans built a fort and started to occupy the area permanently.  As you will notice, especially in the main cities, this German influence has been retained, predominantly in its architecture, street names, restaurants and shop outlets.  Since Namibia is such a unique blend of African and European influence it makes sense that you are afforded time to enjoy some of Windhoek’s most prominent cultural and natural sites, including: Christuskirche, The National Museum of Namibia, Artillery and Kammer Gebaude, Altes Bezirksgericht, Katutura Township, The Gibeon Meteorites, wildlife and community based sanctuaries such as the N/a’an Ku Se Wildlife Sanctuary.
2

Days 3 & 4: Etosha National Park (Namatomi)

An early morning breakfast starts your first exciting day which takes you into the heart of Namibia, to the Etosha National Park, also known as Namutoni, approximately 300 kms north of Windhoek.  The next two days will be spent within the park, exploring the rock art and stone-age sites of the San, remaining as a reflection of their life while they inhabited this area.   Additional attractions in the area include:   Fauna & Flora: The Etosha National Park is home to a unique natural desert environment, so a morning sunrise and afternoon sunset game drive definitely forms a part of your stay here.   The German Colonial Fort of Namutoni: which represents a rich reflection on the German Occupation and Herero Rebellion which took place between 1904 and 1907.
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Days 5 & 6: Twyfelfontein (UNESCO World Heritage Site)

Today’s transfer takes you to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Twyfelfontein, home to the art work galleries of both San Rock Art as well as Koi Rock Engravings dating back 1000 – 10000 years ago.  An approximate 2 500 art sites have been identified in this area.  The Twyfelfontein valley and surrounding sandstone cliffs, with great chunks of rock broken away and sculpted by the wind into a variety of impressive forms, serve as a canvas for the age-old engravings that feature here. Together with your specialist guide, you will spend the next two days studying the presentation of life as depicted by these early inhabitants of Africa.  Additional attractions in the area include:  The Petrified Forests, an area of open veld scattered with petrified tree trunks up to 34m long and 6m in circumference, which are estimated to be around 260 million years old.  A barren 12km-long volcanic ridge, at the foot of which lies the hill known as Burnt Mountain, is an expanse of volcanic clinker that appears to have been literally exposed to fire. Organ Pipes (please remove the link) is a small gorge that contains a 100m stretch of unusual 4m-high dolerite (coarse-grained basalt) columns known as the Organ Pipes.  Extract from UNESCO World Heritage Site Listing re Twyfelfontein or /Ui-//aes:  Twyfelfontein or /Ui-//aes has one of the largest concentrations of [...] petroglyphs, i.e. rock engravings in Africa. Most of these well-preserved engravings represent rhinoceros, . The site also includes six painteelephant, ostrich and giraffe, as well as drawings of human and animal footprintsd rock shelters with motifs of human figures in red ochre. The objects excavated from two sections, date from the Late Stone Age. The site forms a coherent, extensive and high-quality record of ritual practices relating to hunter-gatherer communities in this part of southern Africa over at least 2,000 years, and eloquently illustrates the links between the ritual and economic practices of hunter-gatherers.
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Days 7 & 8: Brandberg

Day 7 takes you from the UNESCO World Heritage site of Twyfelfontein and onto Brandberg, home specifically to San Rock Art.  Brandberg was a spiritual site to the San, this being depicted in their very ethnic artistic skills.  Perhaps Brandberg is most famous for The White Lady Rock Painting, a figure, whom it appears remains of unknown origin and a true archaeological dilemma.  Seemingly “neither lady nor white” it is the main figure on an overhead panel, believed to be performing a ritual dance.  It is also the rock art site that has led to Brandberg claiming a spot on the map.   Additional attractions in the area include:   The Erongo Mountains and Boulders - regardless from which direction one approaches, the majestic Erongo Massif is the result of a huge, ancient volcano, which erupted approximately 130 million years ago and rises about 1000 metres from the ground.  Until today satellite images reveal the shape of the volcano with a diameter of about 30 km.     The Living Museum of the Ju/'Hoansi-San (also called Bushmen) can be visited on Omandumba Farm.  Through colonisation and conflicts with other language groups the cautious Bushmen were driven out of this area a long time ago. Omandumba now attempts to give the San the opportunity to make a living out of this museum in an area where their ancestors used to live.   A highlight for visitors includes the inter-active making of jewellery from ostrich egg shells. Traces of San in the Erongo - home to thousands of rock paintings, of which Omandumba West forms part of.  The San left traces of their lives here in the form of paintings and archaeological findings.
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Days 9 & 10: Swakopmund

Transfer from Brandberg to Swakopmund where you will get to spend the next two days exploring the many attractions, with special attention being paid to the historical background, in and around Swakopmund and Walvis Bay. Additional attractions in the area include: German History & Architecture - located along the shores of Namibia, Swakopmund was founded in 1882.   The Germans joined the race for Africa quite late but winning Namibia gave them a huge territorial gain.  The Germans governed Namibia for the next 30 years during which time they established a well-functioning state of body and changed this part of Africa forever. A century on, the town of Swakopmund hasn’t changed much.  The legacy of German colonisation can easily be seen in the city’s buildings. Many of them are still standing today thanks to the quality of the craftsmanship and attention to detail.   Sights and buildings include Marine Memorial, The War Memorial, The Mole, The Jetty, Princess Rupp, The Swakopmund Hotel (built in 1906), Deutsche Evangelical Church, Antonius Gebaude, Swakopmund Lighthouse, State House (Kaiserliches Bezirksgericht).      Experiences of a more adventurous nature include:   A trip to Moon Landscape: an expansive lunar-like landscape called the Moon Valley of Namibia. Once a big mountain range, erosion has reduced it to rolling, low-lying hills.   The coastal dunes of Swakopmund: with dunes reaching heights of up to 75m, occur in the coastal area up to 30 kilometres inland and stretch between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay.  The dunes allow for many adventure activities including sand-boarding, quad biking and 4 x 4 rides.   A tour to Sandwich Harbour: south of Walvis Bay in Dorob National Park which offers one of the most dramatic sights in Namibia – dunes up to 100m-high plunge into the Atlantic, which washes into the picturesque lagoon. The harbour is now deserted and a stirring wilderness devoid of any human settlement.   A Seal and Dolphin boat tour on the Walvis Bay lagoon: includes the isolated lighthouse, wrecks and oyster farms, Pelican Point and spotting dolphins, seals, whales and turtles.  This tour also includes a decadent picnic including champagne and oysters.
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Day 11: Swakopmund to Windhoek

The last day enjoys a group breakfast at your hotel, after which you have the final stretch by road from Swakopmund back to Windhoek for your onward flight back home.

Tour Location

Namibia is Africa's best-kept safari destination secret. A land of stark contrasts, where towering dunes meet a tempestuous coastline.

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