Select Page

Petroglyphic wild horse tears across the desert plains at Aus

Petroglyphic wild horse tears across the desert plains at Aus

A massive horse, outlined in stone, now gallops across the desert plains surrounding Klein-Aus Vista Lodge on the border with the Sperrgebiet Tsau //Khaeb National Park.

The galloping stone horse commemorates the plight of the desert horse, a small population of wild feral horses that has lived just inside the park’s boundary at the Garub oasis for one hundred years. These horse, once numbering almost 300, have been decimated by hyenas over the recent years, and the surviving 77 horses’ fate still hangs in the balance.

The wild horse is the third ‘earth drawing’ or ‘geoglyph’ that Anni Snyman and PC Janse van Rensburg have created with their group of volunteers as part of the Site Specific Collective, a land art project that brings nature and art together in very large scale.

Due to its scope and size, land art is by necessity a team project. Anni uses her artistic skills to create the image using a single line, while PC provides his architectural expertise for perspective and scale. The outline is first marked out with fence poles and then the dots are connected using thousands of stones, collected and placed by the volunteers.

The wild horse image is roughly 150 by 100 metres, giving an indication why more than 4200 individual stones and small rocks were needed to complete the picture. Due to its size, it can only be viewed as a whole from an aerial vehicle, or in this case, from an observation point on top of a nearby mountain.

The idea for a petroglyph wild horse took more than three years to blossom from a mere idea to the completed vast drawing it is today.

The dots were marked out a year ago with fence droppers that the owners of Klein-Aus Vista Lodge, the Swiegers Family, has collected as former sheep farm fences were taken down. Last month, the volunteers arrived and started drawing the lines between the droppers in packed stone to make the image clearly visible from above.

Photograph by Lance Foster.


About The Author


The Economist accommodates two interns every year, one per semester. They are given less demanding, softer issues to hone their skills, often with a specific leaning to social issues. Today, many of our interns are respected journalists or career professionals at economic and financial institutions. - Ed.