Maun Teen Club Visits “The Louvre of the Desert”

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The following post is courtesy of Pavlo Bereas, Project Assistant for Botswana Teen Club, with contributions from Onkagetse Present, Adult Volunteer at Maun Teen Club:

A sample of the many rock paintings observed by Maun Teen Club members on their first-ever camp at Tsodilo Hills, Botswana's first and only UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Maun Teen Club Visits “The Louvre of the Desert”

More exciting news from Maun Teen Club: on the 1st to the 5th of April 2010, Maun Teen Club members participated in a camping trip at Tsodilo Hills, Botswana’s first and only UNESCO World Heritage Site. A total of 36 teens accompanied by 7 adult volunteers made the journey from Maun to Tsodilo Hills for Maun Teen Club’s first-ever overnight outing.

Tsodilo Hills has one of the highest concentrations of rock art in the world and has been called “the Louvre of the Desert” with over 4,500 paintings! The sheer quartzite cliff-faces of the four Tsodilo Hills rise majestically above the surrounding savannah. The enigmatic and spiritual quality of the hills was noted by the famous author Sir Laurens van der Post in his book “The Lost World of the Kalahari”. It was here that Sir Laurens’s cameras inexplicably jammed, his tape recorders ceased functioning and his party was attacked by swarms of bees three mornings in a row. When he learned from his guide that two of his party had disturbed the Tsodilo spirits by ignoring long-established protocol and killing a warthog and a steenbok while approaching the sacred hills, van der Post buried a note of apology beneath the panel of paintings that now bears his name and it was apparently accepted!

Maun Teen Club Volunteer Onkagetse Present had the following to say about the camp:

“I can recall the sounds of happy and jovial children from Bana Ba Letsatsi (our NGO for at-risk youth) as they waited to board the bus which took us on the long-awaited trip to Tsodilo Hills. All the teens boarded the bus and chose the spot they found the most comfortable. It was great to see the teens on the bus sharing their snacks with one another along the way. As the bus drove out of the town the landscape began to change, from crowded malls to a more natural landscape of trees and shrubs. We had a few problems with the bus and were forced to wait in Gumare; however, the problem was solved and we kept on driving through the night and slept on the bus. The next morning the teens were thrilled to wake up to the beautiful scene of the Tsodilo Hills outside their windows. Everyone was very excited as we walked about 2 km to our camping site. We arrived at our camp, cleaned the area and pitched our tents. After all this work we were quite hungry so we had our lunch and got all washed up. Then it was time for icebreakers and different activities to get to know each other better and have fun. The next morning we woke up and began hiking and touring the Tsodilo Hills; it was a beautiful adventure and the teens felt like they were explorers. It was really nice being out in nature. However, all that hiking was very tiring so when we headed back we had our lunch and did a few more team building activities before calling it a day. The entire trip was a great success and the teens can’t wait to do something like it again next year!”

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