If you're South African then you'll know that our heritage spans a wide range of cultures and backgrounds, but if there is one thing we all have in common it is our origins as humans.
And getting to grips with this is far closer to home than you can imagine. If you've not yet explored the Cradle of Human Culture - then its latest offering is one to add to your next road trip.
Launched on World Tourism Day in September 2019, in partnership with the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism, the Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport and the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, the Artist's Journey route, one is one of two routes of the Cradle of Human Culture.
What to see on the Artist's Journey route:
The journey begins in Cape Town where you see Table Mountain in the background, this heritage site has a history that dates back to as far as 800-million years.
It is worth including in your itinerary.
!Khwa ttu San Heritage Centre
!Khwa ttu combines culture and heritage, adventure, relaxation and education. The sites main goal is to preserve the San culture and educate future generations about one of the oldest inhabitants of our country.
Join them as they demonstrate their history and show their skills such as animal tracking and identifying plants. Some other activities at the site include guided tours of the centre, the San nature tours and the e-bike tours which allows visitors to reach the highest viewpoint in the landscape.
West Coast Fossil Park
Take a look at prehistoric bears and even short-necked giraffes at the fossil park, yes a giraffe with a short neck. There are many other well-preserved fossil remains of some of the animals that roamed the area about 5-million years ago and find out how they relate to today’s fauna and environment.
There is an interactive museum at the site and the guided tours will leave you overflowing with information.
Elands Bay Cave
A small town but filled with plenty of history, Elands Bay Cave is one of the few places where you can find ancient San rock paintings. As you walk around the caves you will see the impressive remnants of life and the inhabitants of the settlement including hand paintings on the walls. The town is a well known surf spot and it is rich in bird life. You are likely to see a beautiful, rare birds.
Diepkloof Rock Shelter
Although not open to the public the rock shelter has to be one of the most beautiful and significant destinations on your route. The provincial heritage site comprises of two caves, these are not ordinary caves-this is where researchers discovered occupation for nearly 85 000 years, and what is believed to be some of the earliest use of symbolism by early humans.
Riel dancing and living culture
If you have the time go riel dancing, this a cultural dance performed by the khoi and san descendants, a form of expressive dance of courtship rituals and animal antics. This is the best way to truly immerse yourself in the culture of the community.
Sevilla Rock Art Trail
You would not be a true art lover if you did not appreciate ancient art, the Sevilla art trail will take you through some of the finest San art ever seen. It proves just how much life there was before us and how far back our history dates.
Apart from the rock art there are plenty of natural wonders that can be found around the area, eland, springboks and dassies can be found casually strolling around, while indigenous fauna and rich birdlife fill the fields. Buy a permit to enter the site at the Traveller’s Rest farm stall.
Truitjieskraal, Matjiesrivier Reserve
Another one of the routes best site is the Matjiesrivier Reserve, it is also filled with detailed rock art but the trail is filled with information boards. You do not have to pretend as if you know what you are looking at, the boards give you insight into exactly what you are looking at.
Go hiking and climbing or find out more about the lives of the people that lived in the area years ago and how plants and animals have adapted to their new environment.
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