David Coulson

A writer, photographer and adventurer, David is the world’s foremost chronicler of African rock art. He has rediscovered and documented more rock art sites across the continent than any other person in history and is the founder and Executive Chairman of TARA – the Trust for African Rock Art.

Driving the length and breadth of Africa for over 40 years, David is a true African explorer. In the earlier part of his career David worked as a professional photographer and writer, and his books and articles were published across the world. These told the story of his many adventures into some of Africa’s remotest areas, where he often travelled alone for long periods. One of his books told the story of a 30,000 mile solo journey he made through 7 different African countries, crossing deserts, crocodile infested rivers and mountain ranges.  It was during some of these travels that David fell in love with Namibia, which subsequently featured in several of his books such as Mountain Odyssey, African Rock Art and finally Namib, the story of Africa’s coastal desert.

In the mid-1990s, David founded the Trust for African Rock Art with the help of Dr Mary Leakey and Sir Laurens van der Post. Since its inception, TARA’s work has been supported by a number of well-known international institutions such as National Geographic and the Getty Foundation. Realising that the biggest threat to this remarkable heritage was ignorance, David used his photography and international network to create a greater global awareness of the importance and endangered state of this art. His book, with the late Alec Campbell, African Rock Art, was the first major book on this heritage on a Pan African scale. TARA has now worked in over 20 different African countries and has been internationally recognized with endorsements from such dignitaries as Nelson Mandela and former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

A copy of David’s digital archive of 25,000 images was acquired by the British Museum in 2014 and is now available worldwide as part of the Museum’s global digital collections. This extensive archive has already opened numerous windows onto Africa’s past.

David is based in Nairobi where he lives with his wife and two daughters.



Namibia: Guardians of the Game

This 4x4 expedition travels deep into the vast wildlife conservancies of north-western Namibia to meet the Guardians of the Game.
8th - 29th November 2022
6th - 27th April 2023
6th - 27th October 2023

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