Botswana: Bushmen paintings of Tsodilo hills and Istenes crash!

Drama! The dirt road leading towards Tsodilo Hills had a sandy patch that caused Istene to take a rather serious tumble on her motorcycle.

Drama! The dirt road leading towards Tsodilo hills had a sandy patch that caused Istene to take a rather serious tumble on her motorcycle. The crash resulted in her dislocating and breaking her humerus (arm). Not humorous at all.
Luckily we were traveling with friends, and Istene, determined to see Tsodilo Hills jumped in the Landy, whilst a friend rode her motorcycle. After the Hills, we drove straight to the Sapupa Medical Clinic and from there an ambulance to the Gumare Hospital. This lead to Istene being shipped back to South Africa for an operation and recovery period. She will meet up with us in Vilanculos, Mozambique after her recovery.

Sunrise after a long night in hospital. Camping by the Clinic

Tsodilo Hills is a fantastic archaeological goldmine with huge national and global importance, being declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2002. The hills have been a congregation point for bushmen groups for the past 100 000 years according to some recent archaeological research. The hills are also littered with incredible rock art.




Our knowledgeable guide, walked us through the hills, showing us some caves and all the rock art, explaining the importance and history. The rock art represents thousands of years of occupation and was created by the san/bushmen during ceremonies asking for assistance or rain.


Pictured below is a Mankala Board, which is a game that was introduced from Indonesia during inland trade with Bantu groups in the center of southern Africa about 200 years ago. They are a common feature at archaeological sites through southern Africa.


Tsodillo Hills is a place of intense spiritual and archaeological importance. It is also the only rock art site within 250 km of the site. The men climbed the Male Hill, one of the few mountains in Botswana. Climbing up around 700m, it is a wonderful hike with views that overlook the flat vastness of the surrounding Kalahari shrub.

Located on one of the most drastic natural features in the surrounding flat vastness of the Kalahari shrub. From here we made our base in Maun and did two expeditions, one into the panhandle of the Okavango Delta (the worlds biggest inland delta) and on the Makgadikgadi salt pans.

A big thanks to the Sapupa Medical Clinic staff for all the help.


Trent Seiler

& The Nitty Gritty Nomads!


Author: The nitty gritty nomads

4 motorcycles, zig zagging through Africa… set out on discovering the continents wondrous archaeology, local cooking secrets as well as educating and engaging with local communities. We will be travelling through 14 countries, including South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania, Rowanda, Burundi, Uganda, Kenya and then back through Madagascar.

One thought on “Botswana: Bushmen paintings of Tsodilo hills and Istenes crash!”

  1. Get well Istene . Thoughts are with you after the spill . South African care is pretty good , I broke my are in Cape Town many years ago .
    Love this blog Trent , you guys are really enjoying the journey in the best way possible .
    Hi to Tom and the rest of the crew .

    Liked by 1 person

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