Clanwilliam Living Landscape Project
Did you know?
About 460 million years ago massive glaciers moved across the Cederberg area causing massive changes.
The Clanwilliam Living Landscape Project is conceived around the idea of the Cederberg landscape as a time machine, that visitors can ‘travel’ through using the wealth of archaeological material continually discovered here – rock art, structural remains, and plant, animal and human artefacts – to connect to the lifestyle, beliefs and wisdom of our San ancestors.
At this Cederberg community-based tourism initiative, your journey begins with a full tour of the Clanwilliam Living Landscape Project - a sort of pre-flight briefing - before you’re taken to the Time Machine (an old school hall). Here, your knowledgeable community guide explains how the Cederberg mountains formed, revives the areas long-forgotten San names, and describes the San heritage of the flora, rock art and the archaeological artefacts on display.
From there, you’ll visit the Time Garden, where the San way of marking time and the passage of the seasons, is captured in a variety of indigenous medicinal and functional plants – like the Quiver tree, used by San hunters as a container for carrying their arrows.
Next, you’ll head off on a guided tour of the Warmhoek rock art trail, developed by the Clanwilliam Living Landscape Project. The University of Cape Town’s archaeology department has intensively educated community trail guides on the compositions, interpretation, and symbolism of the rock art motifs.
The full rock art trail comprises 5 sites and takes around 4 hours to complete. Two of the sites can only be accessed by a steep climb, so there is also the option of easier, shorter, one and 2-hour tours. Whichever option you choose, you’re sure to be entranced by the artistry and delicacy of these glyphs, and the ancient dialogue that flows from them.
After your tour, visit the projects’ craft shop where community artisan’s hand-make accessories like bags and necklaces using San mythology and traditional materials like leather, ostrich shells, and grasses as their inspiration.
If you’ve time, a gratis 30-minute drive through Clanwilliam town and the township of Cederville, will give you a complete picture of this region of the Cederberg, steeped in the spirit of the San, and their fossils and fables.