We have dedicated the whole day to the !Khwa ttu San Centre which is one hour’s drive from Cape Town on the stunning West Coast. The San and the Khoikhoi people are aboriginal to Southern Africa. This means the San and Khoikhoi are descendants of the first peoples who ever lived here before black or white people came to the region. The Khoikhoi migrated into the country about 2,500 – 2,000 years ago, occupying coastal areas, the Southern Cape, and the major rivers, such as the Orange River (called Garib). They may have made friends with the San hunters in some cases, but the San also appear to have withdrawn to the mountains and deserts of South Africa. The San and Khoikhoi did not fare well when African tribes and Europeans arrived in their region and many were killed or deprived of their livelihoods. The !Khwa ttu San Centre gives us the possibility to learn about the fascinating and complex history of the San.
The !Khwa ttu San Centre is situated on a low hill overlooking the Yzerfontein coastline where we ride on an excellent mountain bike trail. The trail is purpose-built and depending on your preference, it can be a leisurely ride or quite challenging. It runs through beautiful and typical West Coast scenery and there are amazing views of the ocean. After the ride, we enjoy a hearty lunch at the !Khwa ttu restaurant. We then set out on a walk with our San guide who shares with us insights into the culture of his people. This will include demonstrations of tracking – a skill San are particularly good at, shooting practice (with a bow and arrow of course), “gathering” scents and knowledge in their medicinal garden, and a visit to a replica San village, where a bow and arrow takes a whole new meaning in the game of love. After the walk, we visit the art gallery, the photo exhibitions and the emerging museum. !Khwa ttu offers San artists and craftsmen of Southern Africa an attractive outlet for their products. The day at !Khwa ttu gives us an insight into an ancient and almost invisible civilization and we return to Cape Town with special memories.