Before man walked the earth.
On a recent day trip up the West Coast we made exciting finds with our guests. Firstly fossils, millions of years old.
The remains of some weird and wacky creatures that lived in dinosaur days can be found in the West Coast Fossil Park. There are lots of them: it’s the biggest collection of vertebrate fossils in the world. Sabre-toothed cats, giraffes with short necks, elephants with four tusks, bears, and giant pigs all roamed the land.
We then headed to !Khwa ttu San Cultural Village and learned about one of the oldest cultural groups in the world. To me the San (Bushman) way of life is more civilised than our city-slicker methods. We can learn from them. The San aren’t obsessed with possessions or power and stay in tune with nature and its conservation. They live in small groups and each member is vital to the community, so it’s important that they look after each other. Sadly this gentle, non-confrontational approach to life is what caused their demise at the hands of colonialists and other indigenous groups in the past.
Wish for a fish!
The seaside village of Yzerfontein, which was our next stop, had stange-looking lime kilns. Since the arrival of the first Europeans in the 17th century these have been used to bake mussel shells. The shells are then crushed and used to make a lime whitewash for buildings.
Another worthwhile stop is picturesque Paternoster fishing village. This recalls the days when rock lobster was a huge industry here. The quirky Paternoster Hotel has a ceiling decorated with a colourful collection of underwear donated by happy patrons – and it’s Afrikaans only please!
A culture like no other.
The West Coast and Namaqualand are more than places on a map; they have their own special brand of people with a unique way of speaking and a legendary sense of humour. Like the Malmebsury ‘Brei’ – the locals in this town roll their ‘r’s like the French but with a guttural twist. Nowhere else is this heard in South Africa, and where did it come form? Your guess is as good as mine.
The legendary Tannie Evita Bezuidenhout, hails from here. Well where else but in the town of Darling, darling! Over the years she has taught us to laugh about ourselves and our beautiful country, especially at the times when we just want to cry.
All of this is just two hours from Cape Town and we’ve barely scratched the surface. Take a few days, travel further north, and you will experience moments which feel like you are the only ones left on the planet, surrounded by Mother Nature. You will enjoy the flowers of Namaqualand, but can discover other delights in that area.
Book a West Coast tour with us today!