The lost city of Kalahari has been puzzling enthusiasts for century

For more than a century rumours have abounded as to the existence of a massive ancient city, covered by the sands of the Kalahari desert. This historical mystery of exploration and archaeology is widely known as “The Lost City Of The Kalahari.”

The Lost City Of The Kalahari:

Lost City of the Kalahari
Guillermo Farini, the pioneer of “Lost City Of The Kalahari,” and the strange Kalahari Desert structures.

The history reports the existence of a ruined ancient city found in the Kalahari Desert in southern Africa. The rumours all started in the late 1800s from a Canadian explorer by the name of Guillermo Farini, who visited the Kalahari in 1895 in search of diamonds. He was one of the first westerners to cross the unexplored portion of the Kalahari.

Actually, the performer William Leonard Hunt changed his name to Signor Guillermo Antonio Farini and became famous for his tightrope walk across Niagara Falls where he was famous as “Farini the Great”. He even invented a device to propel a human being through the air from a cannon, creating one of the first ever “human cannonball” shows. During his life, Farini was an inventor, explorer, writer, spy agent, painter and sculptor.

What Farini Found In The Kalahari Desert:

Lost city of the kalahari desert
Ruins Of The Lost City Of Kalahari Portrait

On his return to Europe, Farini published a book detailing his experiences which included descriptions of unusual rock formations which he believed to be ruins of hitherto unknown buildings. Farini subsequently presented a paper to the Royal Geographical Society and photographs taken on the expedition were publicly exhibited, increasing his notoriety and that of his journey.

In his book, Farini describes the ruins as:

A half-buried ruin – a huge wreck of stones, on a lone and desolate spot, a temple – or a tomb for human bones left by men to decay and rot. Rudely sculptured blocks from the red sand project, and shapeless uncouth stones appear that some great man’s ashes designed to protect and bury many a thousand years ago. A relic, maybe, of a glorious past. A city once grand and sublime, destroyed by an earthquake, defaced by the blast and swept away by the hand of time.

Farini described the city as one of the colossal proportions made from massive stones stacked on top of each other. The city was laid out in an arc and resembled the Great Wall of China after an earthquake. Part of the city was exposed and part hidden under the sand.

Digging away some of the sand exposed a pavement six meters wide with the longer stones laid at right angles to the path. Intersecting the pavement at right angles was another pavement, making a type of cross. There were no inscriptions or marking to be found anywhere, and Farini estimated the ruins to be thousands of years old.

In Search Of The Lost City Of Kalahari Desert:

At the start of the 20th century, Farini’s observation gave birth to a legend throughout South Africa. Some people claimed to have seen an abandoned boat or even a stone quarry in the empty desert. Others attempted to explain the presence of this unknown civilization with comparisons to archaeological finds at Great Zimbabwe.

From 1932, a total of twenty five expeditions were launched to find the Lost City. They crisscrossed the desert area in the direction of Farini. F. R. Paver and Dr. W. M. Borcherds headed out from Upington to search the desert sands, flying over the area in reconnaissance aircraft and subsequently suggesting a number of explanations. However, they failed to find any signs of construction in the area.

Is This The Explanation Behind The Lost City Of The Kalahari?

Rock structures found in the Kalahari desert
Monumental rock structures found in the Kalahari desert

Later in 1964, A.J. Clement, who was a dentist by the profession and an enthusiast about “The Lost City Of The Kalahari,” had researched the story and advanced a new theory.

Clement claimed his study of Farini’s description of his route highlighted inconsistencies in Farini’s story. Clement concluded that Farini went deep into Southern Africa, but he never actually went to the heart of the Kalahari where he claimed the Lost City was sited. To test this premise, Clement explored what he regarded as Farini’s true route and discovered a set of monumental rocks, resembling walls.

Clement visited Rietfontein ― to the southwest of Kamqua, on the Namibian border ― where he saw an unusual rock formation known as Eggshell Hills. In places, the rocks looked like a double wall built from large rocks. Clement thought that Farini may have confused the rocks with square building blocks.

A geologist who saw photos of the site suggested that the ‘ruins’ were simply weathered dolerite. The geological formations were dated back to approximately 180 million years ago when the great upheaval accompanied the birth of the Drakensberg Mountains in South Africa.

Magma intrusions had forced their way in and formed cracks and split as it cooled. This is what made it look as if the rock had been carefully cut and dressed, with pieces stacked up on top of each other.

Clement agreed that the rocks were all neatly squared and the lines were parallel and at right angles. But he felt sure that if this was what Farini had seen, he’d seen a natural rock formation, not a “lost city.”


Since Farini’s big adventure, there have been hundreds of expeditions to try to find the lost city, but none of them were successful. Of course, there are many who would not be convinced of Clement’s natural rock formation theory, and many still have a lot of curiosity about “The Lost City Of The Kalahari,” and that’s why the search for it is still going on.