Historical Walking Tour, Clanwilliam
With a treasure trove of seven national monuments which include two nineteenth-century churches and the old gaol which has since reformed and now houses the local museum, a guided tour of the town is rewarding. The itinerary includes the dwellings of the first Irish settlers to the area which would explain the town's name. There is also an Anglo-Boer war cemetery.
Sevilla Rock Art Trail, Travellers Rest Farm, Cederberg
The San or 'Bushman' people of Southern Africa inhabited these lands for over one hundred thousand years. The coming of the white settlers in the seventeenth century proved to be their demise. However, they have left their imprint on more than fifteen thousand rock art sites scattered throughout. Some are estimated to be as old as ten thousand years.
More than merely a record of daily life, the paintings were part of a religious tradition and include depictions of shamans in trance states and in metamorphic states - half-man, half-beast. 34 kilometres from Clanwillian over the infamous Pakhuis Pass, Travellers Rest Farm in the Cederberg has a four kilometre trail that covers nine rock art sites. Guided viewing is advised to penetrate the significance of the fading images.
3 hours from Cape Town on the N7 to Clanwilliam and 75 kilometres from Clanwilliam on dusty backroads, the thatched cottages of the old Moravian Mission perch above a cultivated valley that is tucked into a corner of forgotten time. The church dates from 1835 and although the millenimum is almost upon us, time is measured differently in mountains that are millions of years old. The 2 300 strong community still farm by sickle, donkey and the threshing of the wind. Their handmade leather shoe - the 'vellie' - is an institution of its own.
4x4 trails, Hiking, Mountain-biking, Wuppertal
Two routes of varying duration rattle and roll through the Tra-Tra Valley and the Koueberg Pass. The Valley road starts at Leipoldt's House, the founder of the mission, if you like a little local history with your bouncing chassis. Experienced drivers should manage the tough forty nine kilometers in nine hours so prepare for an overnight stay in hiking huts or hot-water camping.
Local guides and story-tellers are available to accompany you. And bring a like-minded friend. You may need some help on the inclines. The shorter Citadel Route is a more manageable fourteen kilometers and three hours long. For an unautomated experience of these ancient mountains, there are hiking and mountain-biking trails through the wild and lonely crags.
Copyright © 2002 Laurianne Claase. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without the permission of the author is prohibited