Africa holds dear the story of life through the ages. It is displayed and described through the time-line of the existence, endurance and adaptation of her people to her landscape, plants, animals and ultimately her spirit. Of people and cultures there are many, but, of a deep-rooted history there is only one, and that tells the story of life, the African Way.
If we seek and explore, there is a living tale of life that is scattered across our continent, rich in cultures, tradition, linguistics, music, dance and story-telling, colour in art, dress and homestead design, jewellery, trade, food and of course, landscape and wildlife. It is this variety in resources that has led to the creation of a fundamental culture – integral to the fabric of our being – it has shaped many facets of African life and has formed an understanding of the world around us. It is unique to where we are, but it is open to those who want to see and experience.
But perhaps, of all the stories that Africa tells , the most intriguing come from the finds that lead us to believe that indeed she is home to not only the origins of mankind but to the first, and therefore, oldest living organisms on earth . Through the works of established academics and writers we are given the opportunity to delve into our rich trail of fossil finds as life continued followed by a rich and diverse existence of archaeological, palaeontological and anthropological discoveries that were ultimately left behind by these living beings. Africa will share with you the ancient and the dead but it will also show you the life of then, in the life of now. Traditions and cultural practices remain a thread of the African Way of Life in modern time. Therefore the opportunity to experience is available to us, provided that our need to explore is met with the greatest of sensitivity toward the resources we explore, be it living or not.
Your visit to South, and the rest of Africa, can enjoy a richness that takes you beyond your exposure to, and understanding of, everyday routine-type travel. It is a destination that will satisfy every possible type of travelling mind, be it for studies and research, the mind which seeks special interest topics, the thrill seeking adventurer and the lover of nature, vast open spaces, remoteness and a special kind of quietness. It is a destination to fulfil a few or all of what a true enquiring mind and travelling spirit seeks.
There are many cultural heritage sites and living communities with traditional ways that can form part of a cultural tourism experience to South Africa. Safari Odyssey has teamed up with some of Africa’s leading researchers and teachers in order to take you through the ages and to share our rich cultural landscape. We have scheduled programmes but can tailor-make options which include field-schools and visual research programmes to cater for students from across the globe. Our programmes essentially afford students the opportunity to visit and / or participate in a select range of on-going research and excavation activities.
For the recreationally enquiring mind, we have a selection of truly authentic cultural experiences, which will take you off the tourist track under the guidance of specialist guides, researchers or teachers in the respective field of interest included in your scheduled or tailormade programme.
Your visit to South Africa will lend as much insight into the biology of life, language, culture, societies, and material remains (Anthropology) as it will to the history of life on earth through the discovery of our world-renowned fossil finds (Palaeontology) and finally human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture consisting of artifacts, architecture and cultural landscapes as held in our rich iron and stone age sites (Archaeology). Last but not least are the spirit images of San Rock Art. Our 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”
The time-line of life in Africa stretches into our modern ways, as cultural diversity, traditional practices and spirituality remain engraved in the fabric of our society.
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 and 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 work as such for six years. 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 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 plowing back into a variety of communities the years of experience in the Heritage environment through formal and informal lecturing. In a short overview of Sidneys experience, the following should be mentioned:
On-site Archaeological experience in excavation work / surveying of archaeological site maps / Rock Art / architecture conservation work / CRM Impact Assessment work / publications / reports / dissertations / exhibitions / General heritage surveying for private farm owners / presentation of tours and courses / museum work.