New rules for Berg rock art visits
AMAFA/Heritage KwaZulu-Natal has embarked on a programme of cleaning up graffiti that has defaced some rock art sites in the uKhahlamba/Drakensberg region.
And it has also set up a system of access control.
Visitors to rock art sites will have to be accompanied by custodians drawn from local communities, who will enforce a code of conduct in which they have been trained.
Custodians will require remuneration according to a set scale of fees.
If the rock art sites are inside the uKhahlamba/Drakensberg World Heritage Site, permits from Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife will be needed.
Exempt from the permit requirements are non-commercial hiking trail leaders from the Mountain Club of South Africa, the Mountain Backpackers Club, the Wilderness Leadership School and similarly accredited organisations.
Amafa/Heritage has appointed a rock art officer to implement the policy.
Sixteen rock art sites inside the uKhahlamba/Drakensberg World Heritage Site have been opened for visits by the public.
“The idea is to clean up where damage has been done,” said Barry Marshall, director of Amafa/Heritage. “The presence of graffiti only attracts more graffiti.”
Making the rock art sites accessible to the public in a controlled way will prevent damage being done to them.
“Rock art is an important cultural and historical property, and it’s also an important component of the tourism industry. It needs to be promoted, and at the same time protected,” he said.
For access permits (for research purposes) from Amafa/ Heritage, e-mail |[email protected] or contact Celeste Rossouw at 082 392 0495.
For Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife permits e-mail Sonja Kruger at [email protected] or call 082 877 4122.
For media permits (Ezem-velo KZN Wildlife): Maureen Zimu 082 857 2227/033 845 1850. – Daily News Correspondent