Kondoa Rock Art Sites

Kondoa Rock Art Sites

Northern Circuit

Kondoa Rock Art Sites

Historical Sites, UNESCO World Heritage Sites Northern Circuit, Singida

Kondoa Irangi Rock Paintings sometimes called are located between Singida and Irangi Hills in Kondoa Irangi village and other rock painting is located at Kolo Village in Dodoma. The rock paintings are a series of ancient paintings on rockshelter walls in central Tanzania. The images represent both hunter-gatherers and agro-pastoralist ways of life, depicting the changing lifestyles over the past two thousand years. 

Cave paintings in Kondoa Irangi are among the world most ancient examples of the human artistic expression. This site contains one of the world’s optimum collections of prehistoric rock art with an estimated 1600 distinct cave paintings in almost two hundred different sites. In Tumbelo, Kolo and in several locations in between Singida and Kondoa Irangi, The Irangi Hills north of Kondoa is the most accessible site than all.

The paintings, estimated to be over 1500 years old, with oldest between 19,000 and 30,000 years old are said to have been done by a group of hunter gatherers belonging to the Sandawe tribe. The Sandawe people still live in Tanzania and are the last true hunter-gatherers. Red and white and occasionally black and brown colours have been used to depict people and wild animals. The material used was most probably plant-based oils and animal fat. Red pigments are generally iron oxide; however, but some could have used animal blood.

The cave paintings show simplified human figures engaged in hunting, playing music instruments, crossing rivers and animals such as elephants, giraffe and antelopes. The symbolize hunter-gatherer art people who were living in this areas.

The number of rock art sites in the Kondoa area is approximated about 450. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2006 because of its impressive collection of rock art. The sites are located on the steep eastern slopes of the Masai escarpment bordering the Great Rift Valley. Kondoa rock art sites still play an active role in the rituals of local communities. The sites are used for instance for weather-divination, healing and initiation.

In the fifties Louis and Mary Leaky, famous archaeologists and anthropologists that discovered the Australopithecine called Zinjanthropus in Olduvai Gorge, made a survey of about 100 rock art paintings sites in Kondoa surrounding. In 1983, the survey results have been published to «Africa’s Vanishing Art – The Rock Paintings of Tanzania» by Mary Leaky.

Kondoa Rock Art Sites

How to Get to Kondoa Rock Art Sites
  • Kondoa Town to Kolo Town – Approx. 20 min (25.7 km) via A104
  • Tarangire to Kolo Town – Approx. 2 hours (176.1 km) via A104
  • Arusha to Kolo Town in Kondoa – Approx. 3 hours (242.6 km) via A104
  • Dodoma to Kolo Town in Kondoa – Approx. 2 hours (176.4 km) via A104

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