A Day at the Cultural Centre on the West Coast Near Cape Town

A day trip to find out what the San people of today are doing to spotlight their culture and history in South Africa had some interesting results.

If the visitor has any preconceived ideas about the San being a primitive childlike people of small stature, they must forget them. In reality these friendly indigenous people of South Africa do not like to be referred to as bushmen. They are trying to keep their identity whilst moving forward with the modern world. They have much to teach about living an ecological lifestyle, too.

!Kwha ttu or Water Hole

It was windy and hot, rapidly becoming hotter as the day progressed, but up in the veldt at the San Cultural Centre, it was nothing the San guides weren’t used to.

The approach was a red dirt road lined on either side with sour fig plants and other types of fynbos. Golden orb spiders had slung their webs all over the bushes in one place and large black ants were marching around hunting for lunch.

The friendly guides give snippets of information as you are taken to the main reception area. This is located inside the original old farmhouse along with a shop and beautifully fitted restaurant. Inside the shop contains lovely examples of jewelry made with ostrich egg shells in the traditional manner.

The SASI Site

The piece of land that the cultural centre uses was purchased in 1999 by a Swiss anthropologist. In conjunction with SASI (a San support organisation) the land was used to start a training and tourism project for the San, focusing mainly on education, income generation, culture and heritage.

Situated seventy kilometers along the R27 between Cape Town and Yserfontein on the west coast, the site was chosen because it was once the homeland of a now extinct San people, the !Xaan who lived on this somewhat barren land many years ago.

Now cleared of all alien species of plants and populated with herds of Eland, Bontebok, Springbok and Zebra, all of these animals being indigenous to the area, it is a wonderful example of hope and inspiration to San students learning their lost history and culture.

There is accommodation on site comprising of a tented camp, a bush cottage and a guest house.

Tractor Tours

Two different nature tours are on offer at !Kwha ttu

The fynbos tour takes the visitor out to the veldt and teaches them about the plant life, the medicinal uses of the different plants, and those that are poisonous.

The shooting trip is not quite as nasty as it sounds; the shooting is done by camera and no heads are brought back as souvenirs. The trip is a tour among the animals, learning traditional hunting skills and about the weapons that were once used .

Although there is no shortage of water on the site, food is difficult to find in summer months so the animals are given extra fodder in the form of lucerne and salt licks.

Right on the top of the hill is a boma built completely of natural materials and well camouflaged amongst the rocks. Inside it is equipped with seating for a large crowd of people.

A bush toilet has a stupendous view across the veldt and out over the Atlantic Ocean. Watch out for other species watching you.

Snakes, birds, porcupines and honey badgers live out here in harmony with the visitors. The peace and tranquility of the place is wonderful. Here on the top of the hill with just birdsong for company a person learns the meaning of feeling completely at peace with the world.

Sun hats, sun cream, water and closed shoes are the best things to take along with you for the day. Food is well priced at the restaurant and picnics can be purchased to take with you for your outing in the tractor.

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