!Khwa ttu - San Cultural Experience

Last updated: Jul 24, 2014

Just before the town of Yzerfontein in the West Coast region of the Western Cape, you will find !Khwa ttu, a cultural and educational centre which offers unique insights into San culture. Here qualified San guides take visitors around the 850 ha reserve where they will take you into their world and share ancient skills and stories.

The experience gives a completely new and broader understanding of who the San are and how they live. Plus, if you end up stuck out in the middle of nowhere someday, perhaps the San survival techniques might just come in handy.

The tour starts with a slow drive through the hills of !Khwa ttu where the guides will point out fynbos and other plants that are used by the San. The reserve is also home to a variety of game including Eland, Zebra, Oryx, Bontebok and Springbok. From the highest point of the reserve you can see Table Mountain to the south, and Langebaan lagoon to the north.

After the drive visitors are taken on a nature walk as guides give in-depth information about the San's use of specific plants. They will explain the life of the hunter-gatherer, which often relies on survival in the harshest of circumstances, and you'll be shown some of the San techniques including storing water in ostrich eggs, and how to set a traditional bird snare.

The history of the San people is long and interesting, and during your tour you will go to a replica of a traditional San village where you can see the use of traditional tools and weapons. Observe how the San women produced eggshell jewellery, and if you're lucky a guide might share a story or two that form part of the great San oral history. While in the village you'll also get a chance to try shooting an arrow and starting a fire with just sticks, all with the help of a guide.

Finally go to the Audio-Visual Centre for an eye-opening look at San life with a number of historical photographs, life stories and text. The centre focuses on issues that are close to the heart of the San including the dispossession of land and resources, and the importance of culturally-specific education. The displays are meant to engage with the users and offer a thought provoking look at San life.

The cost of the tour is R240 for adults and R120 for children, students and pensioners. Tours run Monday to Sunday at 10h00 and 14h00. For more information call +27 (0)22 492 2998.