Tsodilo Rock Paintings

Useful Information

Location: Tsodilo Rock, off the main road between Sepupa and Shakawe. 390 km from Maun, A3 to Sehithwa, A35 to Shakawe, turn off left 25 km after Sepupa, 40 km gravel road.
Open: No restrictions.
Fee: free.
Guides: 150 Pula for a half-day trek.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave
Light: bring torch
Guided tours:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


2001 inscribed into UNESCO WHL.


The Tsodilo Rock Paintings are located at the Tsodilo Hills. The paintings can be found on rock faces, overhanging cliffs and in small caves. There are three hills called Female hill, Male hill, and Child hill. Child hill is the smallest to the north, Male hill is the tallest to the south. There is a small campsite whith eight individual sites, which is free. A spring which is holding water throughout the year is - according to legend - guarded by a python against all predators with paws. Unless they ask permission to drink!

The hills in the plains have been visited by man for some 100,000 years. An abundance of evidence has been found by archaeologists. Once there was a lake at the foot of the hill and the area was very fertile. At this time the people created more than 3,500 individual painings, making this site the greatest concentration of rock art in the world. The depict animals like eland, giraffe, rhino and kudu. Then there are geometric patterns and dancing people. The strangest painting shows the "dance of the penises", depicting dancing men with erected penises, almost as long as they are tall.

White Paintings Shelter on Male hill contains the white painting of an elephant bull surrounded by many geometric designs. There are also animals and human figures, some of them on horses. Rhino cave, on the northern side of Female hill, contains a rock python, a 6 m long section of rock protruding from the cave wall resembling a python. It was a natural formation which was sculpted by the prehistoric people with spearheads and cutting tools. The side of the snake shows man made cupules and long grooves. On the other side of the cave is the a white painting of a rhino which gave the cave its name.

The hill faces show the remains of prehistoric mines, small tunnels were specularite was mined. This mineral was used for jewellry.

The site is little developed and protected by law and its remote location. There is a samll campground with water, ablutions and showers, which is free. Locals are willing to guide for a small fee, but it is also possible to explore on your own. We nevertheless recommend a local guide.