I have been hiking in the Berg for some years and it has always irritated me that “people in the know” keep the location of rock art a secret. After all these paintings are part of our National Heritage and why should we all not be able to view them. I always saw this practice as akin to a piece of stolen art residing in someone’s basement and only them being able to view it rather than the greater public at large.

However, my views have changed, let me explain. After taking my 14 year old nephew to the Northern Berg and spending the night in Crow’s Nest cave, which he enjoyed immensely, I decided to show him the splendors of the foot hills of the Southern Berg and take him on the Giants Cup five day hike which I did  twice myself in 2008. Those of you who have done the hike will know that nearing the end at Bushman’s Neck there is a cave with some rock art, not the best example, but fascinating anyway and always a high point to look forward to after some 55kms of hiking. To my utter dismay I find that some, and I hesitate to use the word “person”, called “Francina & Gerald” has scratch their name across part of the rock art. I’m not one for punitive action but if “Francina & Gerald” had destroyed part of Saudi Arabia’s National Treasure “Francina & Gerald” would both be missing a hand and rightly so. So if you are one of those “people in the know” about the location of rock art, then I’m not so irritated with you anymore.

By the way if anyone knows who “Francina & Gerald” are, turn them in to KZN Wildlife.
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intrepid replied to: #800 22 Dec 2009 20:28
The Berg is our heritage - it belongs to all of us. Yet it is proven again and again internationally that degradation of rock art sites is strongly linked to a public awareness of where the sites are located. While many people are responsible and do not damage the art, there are plenty around who are not, and there is ample proof of this in the Berg.

@Wolfman: while it's true that works of art should not be hidden in someone's basement, it's equally true that works of art are often heavily guarded and protected in museums.

Something which should be noted too is that these sites are protected by law. The Heritage Act of KwaZulu-Natal empowers the applicable authorities (in this KZN Wildlife and Amafa jointly) the right to protect and manage a 50m radius around each site. The authorities have determined that no public access is granted within this radius. Only around 25 selected sites are open to the public, and visitors must be accompanied by a registered rock art custodian.

I have tried to secure an official list of these caves but its proven to be difficult to get hold of. Would be great if you could get hold of a list, domsmooth.