Hidden Treasures - The ECI Trip
Botswana boasts a handful of heritage sites around the city of Gaborone. Although these sites are not very popular amongst Batswana, Botho University’s ECI students explored several of them, including Mogonye Gorge, the Manyana rock paintings and Livingstone Kolobeng, which boast eye-catching flora and fauna together with natural springs and gorges.
Mmamotshwane Gorge is the biggest and most popular gorge in Mogonye village, five minutes away from Gaborone. The gorge consists of a variety of animals such as leopard, black mamba, cobra, kudu, baboon, antelope, etc. There is also a special kind of tree called mmabi. The gorge is believed to be a sacred home controlled by the ancestors and contains spring wells which have now run dry. Residents believe that the wells are dry because the ancestors are displeased.
After Mogonye, the students took a drive to Manyana village, where they saw rock paintings dating back 2000 years. The paintings were done by the Khoisan who inhabited the area at that time. The cave at the site served as a hiding place for Kgosi Sechele’s pregnant wife during the battle of Dimawe. A few kilometers from the rock paintings, still in Manyana village, is David Livingstone’s tree, where Batswana were taught how to read and given medical consultations.
The final site was in Kumakwane village, where Livingstone settled. There are remains of the foundation of the building which served as his home, church and clinic. This building was the first four-corner house in Botswana. The site also boasts the graves of Livingstone’s daughter Elizabeth and the two missionaries who helped him spread the message of Christianity. There is also a natural spring, the water of which is believed to be holy.
The trip was a highly educative lesson in tourism and the ECI students got real life experience of the job of an interpreter, which they had learned in class. The professional guides, including the one who drove with them from Gaborone and the local guides at the sites, did an excellent job in showing the students how it is done.