4000 Ancient San Tribe Paintings, 24 000 Years Old

One hour from Nxamaseri Island Lodge is one of Botswana’s greatest treasures. The mystical and spiritual Tsodilo Hills rise out of the dry desert landscape, forming one of the highest point in Botswana at over 1400 meters above sea level. These hills are sacred to the San people of northern Botswana and are adorned with over 4000 ancient San paintings. The name Tsodilo Hills comes from the Hambukushu word “sorile” meaning “sheer” and is a reference to the sheer rock face that rises to the sky. The San believe that it was from the backs of these hills that people first came to earth. They believed that this was one of the only places one could reach the Great God in the eastern sky and request hunting mercies and abundant health.

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As the hills are so easily accessible from Nxamaseri Island Lodge, we offer fully catered and guided day trips to explore them, savour the ambience and view the paintings. In contrast to the cool Nxamaseri waterways, Tsodilo is a dry, Kalahari, arid experience. The diversity in the landscape is a sight to behold. Guests are able to book a return helicopter flight from Nxamaseri Island Lodge to the Tsodilo Hills.

Guests walk around the numerous paths that meander amongst the sacred Tsodilo Hills. There are 4 hills that are named according to their descending size, from the male (the highest), to the female and the child. The fourth, more distant, medium-sized hill, is considered to the be prowling ex-wife who was discarded for the younger version. The more than 4000 paintings, dating back over 24 000 years offer mesmerizing insights into the life of our early ancestor. In 2001 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its unique religious and spiritual significance.

After a trip back in time, guests then return to the green, sumptuous Nxamaseri Island Lodge where they can enjoy a cold beverage in a motor boat, while watching the sun set on a truly exhilarating and memorable day. A visit to these hills affords one the privilege of being able to see and feel, however briefly, the essence of an ancient culture, fragile and increasingly threatened in the face of pressure from the Western world.


Nxamaseri Island Lodge

Explore the historical site where the San believed they could reach the Great God in the eastern sky