!KHWA TTU - THE VOICE OF THE SAN
The San people are one of the earliest hunter-gatherers, and the last, in Southern Africa. There is an estimate of about 130 000 San living across six different countries in Southern Africa. Their culture and way of life is highly in danger of being non-existent. Luckily their native dialect, /Xam, which is still spoken by few, has been recorded in its entirety by a German Linguist named Dr WHI Bleek. This culture is in danger of no longer existing because of climate change impacts, disenfranchisement and a widespread lack of knowing and understanding of their way of life. This is where !Khwa Ttu becomes so special. This is where the San get to tell their stories themselves.
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
In the year 1998, the Working Group for Indigenous Minorities in Southern Africa saw that the San needed assistance in developing potential tourism opportunities and showcasing their unique culture to the world. They asked for the help of a Swiss anthropologist named Irene Staehelin and in 1999, she bought an 850 hectare wheat farm on the West Coast of South Africa. Finally in 2006, !Khwa Ttu officially opened their doors to the public. The now heritage site slowly developed its tourism offering and in turn development capabilities for the San people. Not only did this initiative help to educate the rest of the world about the San people, but it also benefited the land in that it had been rehabilitated and the natural wildlife has been reintroduced.
WHAT IS !KHWA TTU
!Khwa Ttu is a non-profit organization, San culture and education centre based just outside of Cape Town. It is directed by both the San and the Swiss-based Ubuntu Foundation and since 1999, have been providing jobs and practical residential training for young San. The site is a flourishing tourism destination which provides stylish accommodation as well as open air tent camping, a bustling restaurant which serves freshly prepared, locally sourced food, adventurous mountain bike trails and a shop with souvenirs and hand crafted objects. !Khwa Ttu also has one of a kind tours that are led by the San themselves, which enables them to reclaim and share their heritage, in their own words.
The latest addition to !Khwa Ttu is the San Heritage Museum, which holds a lot more than just a collection of mementos and incredible historical photographs. Their exhibitions, San led trails and guided tours are designed to take all your senses on a historical journey. You can expect to see demonstrations of skills and knowledge from San cultures across Southern Africa, while simultaneously hearing the archaeological story of the origins of the modern mind on the beautiful Southern African coastline.
MORE REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT
Step into the world of San culture when taking a tour with one of the qualified San tour guides. They come from a diverse range of San communities, meaning they also have their own unique language and stories to tell. There are tours of medicinal and food trails, which wander further into the Nature Reserve, or experiencing indoors through the intimate spaces of the museum, you will be guided into a new understanding of the invincible San spirit. There are a variety of San guided tours which include, Tea tasting - the veld pharmacy; First People - food from our forefathers; Encounters - when cultures collide; The Way of the San - Spirit, hunting and gathering; and Tracking - reading the signs. These tours demonstrate the knowledge and skills of the San, whose simple yet beautiful refinement will surprise you.
If you are not interested in doing any of the guided tours, you are more than welcome to roam about the three museums on site, for as long as you would like to, all you would need is an entrance ticket and a self guide map! All three museums are filled with exhibitions that are rich with content that is sure to keep you immersed for hours.
More of the adventurer type? No problem! !Khwa Ttu has walking and mountain bike trails to suit all preferences and levels, from extreme to easy riding. There is however a small fee to pay and you must sign up as a Friend of !Khwa Ttu. Remember to take your bicycle along if you choose to go cycling.
!Khwa Ttu is filled with such beauty, history, culture and tradition that it makes it almost impossible for you to not want to go! They are open daily between 09:00 and 17:00 and should you decide to spend a few nights, you will need to book in advance. They even allow your well behaved four legged family members to tag along!
If you are planning a trip to Cape Town in the near future, make sure to book a Concierge session with us for an incredible virtual experience of Cape Town from our Wanderful Hosts, who are locals to the Mother City. Alternatively, you can speak to one of our Concierge Gurus and they will set up a customized virtual experience for you. And once you have arrived in Cape Town, make sure to visit !Khwa Ttu for a cultural journey of a lifetime.