Hey there this is Julescape with another edition of The Shape of the Cape.
Today we will explore a fascinating ancient Bushman cave residence situated at the south Cape coast of Africa. Africa is said to be the origin of humanity by some theorists, though theories shift constantly in prehistory. Certainly here on the southern shore of the Cape coast in South Africa, we have beautiful weather to explore along the wide open space.
On today’s exploration we have come across a definite ancient residence or dwelling site of the indigenous Khoi/San Bushmen race. Archaeologists have unearthed what looks like a place dating back 12 000 years where the Bushmen, as they are generically labelled, appear to have lived for some time. It’s on the bank of a river, at the mouth, so presumably a well-situated place for survival many millennia ago. Middens, as they are called, are piles of shell remnants left by those eating the locally harvested shellfish on the rocks at the shoreline.
I took a tour of the place and captured some video footage, which you might find fascinating. To think that people lived here 12 000 years ago, is phenomenal, considering our limited understanding of our global human history. Was the shoreline even in the same position back then? Possibly not, as it apparently moves with the ice ages cyclically every 12 000 years or so. Nevertheless, this cave location shows definite evidence of a community living here that far back. What a pure place it must have been then. Being Africa, it has not been so overrun by human population yet and some places still offer up a mood of untainted natural surroundings with no sign of modern life anywhere, even to this day.
The beach, called Keurboomstrand (strand means beach in the vernacular Afrikaans) is, in my opinion, the most attractive and inviting beach or seaside place on the entire Garden Route. It has a more semi-tropical feel to it, with the thin beach strip of pure soft white sand being met immediately by high soaring cliffs covered entirely by lush green local vegetation. It marks a distinct difference from the rest of the beaches to the west, between here and Cape Town, which have less of the lush growth.
Beside that the rugged rock features and natural boulders strewn all along the beach add a magical mood and ambiance to the mostly deserted beach. If you ever get to South Africa, I highly recommend the Garden Route as a destination. It is on the southernmost coastline, and in my opinion the most beautiful part of the country. And if you make it to the Garden Route, then you must seek out Keurboomstrand, just near Plettenberg Bay. It is a hidden gem of a tourist site for those who make it this far to the remotest shores of the planet.
It reminds me slightly of Thailand, with the exotic boulders strewn on the beach and fascinating flora and vegetation. Fortunately it’s not tropical or as hot and humid at all, so it makes a prime tourist destination for those who wish to find a beautiful, inexpensive and seldom frequented hideaway paradise location.
Going back to the Bushman site, it’s interesting to note that the Bushman race is different from the traditional black African Bantu race, as they might be labelled. The features mark them as a race unto themselves, and the Bushmen, divided into two main tribes – Khoi and San – lived in the region before the Bantu tribes moved so far south from central Africa. These inhabitants were here before any Bantu African, what to speak of white colonialist settler.
As a result, the government of South Africa has actually put the symbol of two Bushmen on the country’s coat of arms and the national motto of South Africa is written in the Bushman language, now a dead language, hardly spoken, except by a few isolated Khoi or San who still live in the Kalahari Desert, where they were driven a few hundred years ago by the Bantu and the Europeans. The national motto translates to mean something like “Diverse peoples unite”, which is significant in many countries, especially here since we have 13 different official languages in South Africa alone. That comes from the many Bantu tribes that resided here before the Europeans came and added English and Afrikaans ( a derivative of Dutch primarily).
So personally I would mark this beach site as one of my all time favorite places to visit. It has pristine beachfront coastline, scarcely inhabited, along with interesting indigenous vegetation, with fine weather, ocean marine wildlife like dolphins all year and whales in season, and it also has this unique archaeological site worth visiting for locals and travelers alike. So check out my little video clip and see for yourself. Then put the place on your list of top hideaway tourist sites and make a trip one day to see it personally. In the next post I will drop an even more interesting clip showing one of the most fascinating natural sculpted rock formations ever – Arch Rock. See you soon on the beach.