It was only on closer inspection that the engravings on this rock became apparent.

This rock is sculpted to mirror the Nooitgedacht Mountain. A natural vertical incline on the rock forms a steep representation of the cliff that leads down into the fertile valley of Hekpoort. The valley depiction on the rock surface was further enhanced by hundreds of man-made peck marks and communicates that “Here we hunt game, and it is plentiful”.

There are 15 pecked dots arranged in a circle on the carved summit of the mountain and confirm this to be an ancient Rain Making site as well as an ancient, engraved map. The dots represent the 15 phases/days between the new Moon and the Full Moon – even the ancients from the East had the same Lunar Calendar and in modern times, the Chinese start their New Year celebrations on the New Moon, culminating in the “Festival of the Lanterns” on the 15th day, namely, full moon.

The big and small engraved circles inside the 15 phases of the moon represent the Earth and the Moon respectively. The big circle outside the 15 phases on the eastern side represents the Sun. The small, engraved circle above the carved cliff face either represents the second-brightest object in the night sky, Sirius – or the actual location of a sacred Bushman well, which we have noted and recorded.

On Nooitgedacht Mountain itself, a huge boulder has been sculpted in the shape of a Rain Bull. Nearby there is a rock engraving (in relief) of a Rain Bull, both of which indicate an ancient and sacred rain-making site. On the engraved ancient map outside the Museum, the location of the rain-making site is highlighted by the 15 pecked dots – the moon phases.

The statue of the Rain Bull
The statue of the Rain Bull
The Rain Bull engraving – carved in relief

For a full explanation of the meaning and cosmology of the ancient Lunar Calendar reference “Ancient Indian religious astronomy in the stone ruins of Komatiland, South Africa” by Cyril A. Hromnik. Published in MNASSA (The Monthly Notes of the Astronomical Society of South Africa), Volume 55, Nos. 5 & 6:
The Full Moon, the New Moon, and the Sun were the main visible appearances of the God worshipped by the Quena, and they referred to them by the names borrowed from the Dravidian and Sanskritic languages of India. The Moon they called “Cha” or “K ‘Cha”, from the Indian Chan or Chandra, and the Sun they called “Surrie” or “Sore”, from the Indian Suriyan (Grevenbroek 1933). They worshipped this God in many different ways, but most of all by dancing. Watching them in Table Valley (Cape Town) in April 1691, Dampier described the ritual as follows: “At the New and [especially] Full Moon [night]… both Men and Women and Children [were] Dancing very oddly on the Green Grass by their Houses. They traced two [sic] and fro promiscuously, often clapping their hands and singing aloud. Their faces were sometimes to the East, sometimes to the West.”

Sometimes they faced the Moon and then again they turned away from its shining face. And they “continued their Mirth till the Moon went down. (Dampier 1691)
By turning their faces East and West and up and down, the Quena dancers acknowledged a certain order in God’s creation, an order which rested on the quartering of the universe by the cardinal directions. This awareness is all cosmologically based religions, especially those of India, finds its reflection in the external and internal organization and in the architecture of temples and shrines. One such temple has been discovered in Komatiland.

There is no doubt that the Cape Quena, like the ancient Dravidians.
“Perceived God as occupying the entire sphere of creation; that God was not a single person residing somewhere in the sky; that he was everywhere and manifested himself in all natural phenomena. In other words, the Quena had a cosmological understanding of God. This understanding is reflected in the forms of their worship.” (Hromník 1990)

Note: Quena is the historical name for the people of southern Africa commonly known as Khoi-Khoi (formerly known as Hottentots), as opposed to Kung (Bushmen). The Quena formed several tribes, each speaking a language or dialect of the same language family.

Bookings for the Geoheritage Tour to see the Ancient Rain Making site and explore the unique geology of the Magaliesberg Mountain Range can be made via email to , at the African Hills Safari Lodge Reception, or by calling 082 416 1340. Tours take 4 hours and start at Reception at 08h00. Cost R695 per person, with a minimum number of 2 Guests. (Rate valid until 31 October 2023). You don’t have to stay at the Lodge to enjoy any of our Adventure Tours! The tour includes a free Guided Tour of the Museum afterwards.