Discover the true heart of the Cape West Coast at !Khwa ttu. Learn about the San’s fascinating history from the San themselves, snack on delicious Eland Burgers and experience unique bush accommodation surrounded by exciting mountain bike trails.
We set off on my cultural quest and headed for !Khwa ttu San Cultural Educational Centre, a mere 74km from central Cape Town, on the R27; West Coast Road from Cape Town. Situated in a spectacular West Coast setting near Yzerfontein, !Khwa ttu San is an innovative joint venture between the San people and the Swiss philanthropic UBUNTU Foundation.
!Khwa ttu San Cultural and Educational Centre offers a fascinating insight into the culture, heritage, knowledge and modern-day life of the original inhabitants of the West Coast.
Also a nature reserve, there are many species of large animals and antelope including zebra, eland and springbok as well as many smaller mammals, abundant birdlife and fynbos.
The San Guided Experience is quite literally an adventure
Upon arrival, I was met by Kerson Jackson, one of the very informative guides, and he explained the two basic tours on offer. The Hunter Tour focuses on the hunting and tracking skills of the San as well as the animal life in the area, while the Gatherer Tour focuses on the edible flora and highlights the rock paintings of the San people.
During the tour, qualified San guides will demonstrate their skills, share their ancient knowledge about oral history, tracking animals, identifying edible and medicinal plants and they will also teach you words in some of their languages. It is a living celebration of past and present San culture and offers a very uplifting and inspirational experience.
The kids loved the San Guided Experience; a ride on the open-top-tractor followed by a walk through !Khwa ttu’s breath-taking landscape while learning about tracking, visit to the replica traditional San village, learn about Africa’s “first people”, experience survival skills such as making fire by hand, learn words in the San language and the value of fynbos plants.
There is also a fascinating photo exhibition hall and as well as an arts and crafts shop and many of the items on sale are manufactured by San communities and the profits go back into the communities.
The nature reserve contains many species of large animals and antelope including zebra, the large eland and the energetic springbok, as well as an abundance of other smaller mammals, birdlife and fynbos plants.
!Khwa ttu offers Two Mountain Biking Trails: A 10km, circular green route that you may have wonderful encounters with game and if you are daring – the highlight is a 20 metre drop down a granite rock face to a water hole – but there is a optional safer route to avoid this part. Fitter cyclists can continue on the circular red route for 20km of more challenging climbs on neighbouring farms. Rental of Mountain bikes and helmets are also a option if you want to enjoy the scenery but can’t bring your own with.
A variety of accommodation options ranging from luxurious guesthouses, fully equipped bush camp ‘glamping’ or even small San tents.
Farm-style Self Catering Guest House was our haven for two nights and provided a luxurious getaway in a tranquil and unspoilt location. A cosy lounge with a fireplace, fully equipped open-plan kitchen, complimentary Wi-Fi and beautiful but comfortable décor. The stunning views over the ocean and the unspoilt !Khwa ttu landscape truly made us feel as if we were miles and miles away from it all, in the middle of nowhere in the Karoo!
The Secluded Bush House is the perfect retreat tucked away within nature – a blend of bush and luxury nestled amongst strandveld indigenous vegetation. This beautiful self contained Bush House are heated through solar power, has a fully equipped kitchen, dining area, cozy indoor fire place, as well as a comfortable outdoor fire place, beautiful décor that blends in with the natural environment.
The Luxury Tented Bush Camp offer luxury outdoor camping with two linen single beds. A circular semi-roofed boma invites you to have barbeques at the central campfire. Towels and utensils available on request, shared outdoor showers and ablution facilities as well as a comfortable boma.
Tented Bush Village Camp is perfect for those mountain biking weekends. Small San tented huts, sleeps 2 people per tent.
Remember to pack
To take full advantage of the !Khwa ttu San nature reserve remember your – binoculars, walking shoes, protection against the sun and your windbreaker (even in summer the coastal afternoon breeze can be quite chilly). We loved the idea that there was no TV at the guesthouse – on the stoep area we read our books, played cards and sat and watched the sun go down while making a braai in the firepit.
The old original farmhouse has been lovingly restored over the last four years and now houses a beautifully designed restaurant with a cosy fireplace which is open for breakfast and lunch daily.
Don’t forget to treat yourself to !Khwa ttu’s famous Eland Burger made from eland on the reserve.
We had lunch in the !Khwa ttu San restaurant before heading back to Cape Town feeling as if we had been away for a week rather than just two days.
Facilities available at !Khwa ttu San
• Accommodation • Child Friendly • Pet Friendly • Bar • Restaurant (Breakfast / Lunch) • Fireplace • Wheelchair Accessibility (Restaurant) • Trip Advisor • Conference Facilities • Wedding and Function Venue • Shop • Tractor Rides • San Guided Experience • Mountain Biking Trails • Mountain Bike & Helmet -hiring
Part of the Culture Route on the R27
Open 7 days a week | Free entry
R150/person for an hour San Guided Experience (Group bookings essential)
Distance from Cape Town: 74km
Where: Grootwater Farm, R27
Contact: (c) +27 (0)22 492 2998 | [email protected] | www.khwattu.org