South Africa is rarely associated with ancient history. Few people are aware that the San culture is one of the oldest on the planet. The semi-nomadic hunter gatherers once roamed large parts of Southern Africa and rock paintings and engravings are proof of this. The San’s modest lifestyle survived for more than 20 000 years. While very few San still live the traditional lifestyle, you can get an authentic experience of San culture within an hour’s drive of Cape Town.
The !Khwa ttu Education and Culture Centre is unpretentious. You won’t find the San guides in loincloths. They won’t dance for you and they don’t have to beg. The hunter gather life in the Kalahari is their heritage, but not their lifestyle. They wear the clothes they are comfortable in and they speak excellent English. The guides are confident and knowledgeable, which makes !Khwa ttu more than a photographic opportunity; it is an educational and enriching experience.
San Education and Culture Centre
!Khwa ttu is a place for people with San heritage to come together and exchange knowledge and experiences. It is a place where San guides are educated and trained. It is also a place for visitors who are curious about this ancient culture or the natural environment of the Western Cape. !Khwa ttu was established on a 850 ha property 70 km outside of Cape Town and close to Yzerfontein. The indigenous flora was restored and several game species including eland, zebra, Oryx, ostrich, springbok, bontebok, bateared fox, aardwolf and porcupine now roam freely in the vast territory. The view of the Atlantic Ocean and the backdrop of Table Mountain complete the blissful atmosphere.
!Khwa ttu offers two guided tours a day. Visitors can either take a guided walk in the area or join a tractor ride. While the tractor ride covers a greater distance and offers better chances of seeing wildlife, the guided walk gives in depth information of the plants and their uses in San culture. The guides have an incredible knowledge of the natural environment and happily share their wisdom. At the cultural village your guides will demonstrate how to produce jewellery from ostrich egg shells, light a fire and tie a traditional loincloth. The guides happily answer any questions you may have, yet one becomes aware that you can only scratch the surface of their knowledge during the hour-long tour.
After the tour you can browse around the exhibitions in the gallery or enjoy a hearty meal at the restaurant that is situated in an old farmhouse and seats up to 60 guests. The craft shop offers traditional San crafts and the proceeds benefit San communities.
- !Khwa ttu is situated on the R27. Coming from Cape Town you will see big signs on your right.
- Guided tours depart at 10am and 2pm and are R240 per adult and R120 per child.
- More info on the website