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TThe area in the dry southern Kalahari, bordered by Botswana and Namibia, is where you will find a traditional group of the ‡Khomani San - a people who, until recently, were thought to have vanished from our Earth.
This once wide open space has become demarcated by fences and country borders, yet these first people of the Kalahari still live a hunter-gatherer existence. The sparse, arid sand dunes are dotted with shrubs and sporadic grasses, which the San have been using to sustain themselves for millennia. Their knowledge and respect for the land is unsurpassed, and thanks to the newest UNESCO site, will be preserved for many future generations.
NNow their landscape has been made a World Heritage Site, one to protect, safeguard and keep. This brings the number of South African World Heritage Sites to nine, including the Fossil Hominid Sites of South Africa, Maloti-Drakensberg Park, Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape, Vredefort Dome, Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape, Robben Island Museum, iSimangaliso Wetland Park and the Cape Floral Region Protected Areas.
Khomani Cultural Landscape
TThe ‡Khomani Cultural Landscape has actually changed little from its original form, with the desert of the southern Kalahari having remained protected as nature reserves. It covers 959 100 hectares, forming part of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and including the whole Kalahari Gemsbok National Park.
TThe ‡Khomani San descend directly from an ancient population that lived in southern Africa 150 000 years ago. This same group of people are believed to be among the ancestors of human beings. They have played a huge role in getting their area inscribed as a World Heritage Site.
The ‡Khomani Cultural Landscape is open for anyone to visit. You can stay at the !Xaus Lodge, which is owned and run by the community, or at a number of smaller rest camps. Activities such as tracking and hunting are offered by experienced San guides, as are cultural experiences to learn more about their history.
If you want to discover the rich and vibrant South African culture and how it has evolved over time, a trip to the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum in the Eastern Cape is definitely an eye-opening experience.