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TThe Bushmans Kloof rock art site in the Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve in South Africa’s Western Cape province contains San/Bushman rock art and artefacts at the heritage centre. The weird landscape of red rock formations in this part of the Cape folded mountains adds to the 'ancient land' atmosphere and the appeal of the Cederberg wilderness.
The Bushmans Kloof rock art site is part of the Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve, a pristine area about 50km from Clanwilliam and 270km north of Cape Town. The reserve has been declared a National Heritage Site because of its spectacular San paintings and the fact that it is part of the Cape Floral Region.
At the heritage centre located on the five-star Bushman's Kloof Wilderness Reserve and Retreat, you will see Cederberg bushman paintings, artefacts, jewellery, bags, dolls and dancing sticks, supplemented by photographs, to introduce you to the ancient nomadic way of life of the hunter-gatherer.
TThere are more than 130 locations of San rock art at this Cederberg rock art site, some of them 10 000 years old. Although the local San had been exterminated by 1910, their paleolithic art has lately earned world acclaim.
In the southern Cederberg lies the Kagga Kamma reserve, which has the distinction of sheltering some of the last Bushman families of the region in the north of Western Cape province. Visitors can meet the Bushmen and see their fire-making and bead-making skills.
The rock art site of Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve also boasts about 30 endangered Cape mountain zebra, of which only about 1 200 remain worldwide. Other antelope, such as springbok, eland, gemsbok (oryx), black wildebeest (gnu) and bontebok, also grace the park.
The original cedars of the Cederberg were used for telephone poles, and badly depleted, but they are now protected, and a replanting programme has restored much of the original landscape.
Millions of years ago tectonic shifts produced the Cape folded mountains, and erosion over aeons, with harder layers of rock topping the easily eroded sandstone, have produced fantastic formations stained red by iron oxides. The 20m-high Maltese Cross and the 30m-high Wolfberg Arch are truly majestic.
From October until November spring flowers abound, and the snow protea grows on the Sneeuberg.
TTravel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve
Tel: +27 (0)21 437 9278
How to get here
From Cape Town, it's a four-hour scenic drive via the Pakhuis Pass.
Best time to visit
The gate to Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve closes at 5pm daily.
Things to do in the area
Nature hikes, mountain biking, canoeing, fly fishing or swimming in crystal-clear rock pools.
Tours to do
Take the Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve's nature drive departing at 4.30pm.
Guests at Bushmans Kloof can enjoy daily excursions to discover the caves and rock art sites accompanied by trained guides. Once you're at the Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve and Wellness Retreat, you're in the capable hands of drivers and guides.
What will it cost?
This is a luxury lodge, so the all-inclusive rate costs from R3 000 per person per night and upwards in the high season. Enquire about the specials on offer.
Length of stay
Half a week or a full week.
What to pack
Pack decent walking gear and a camera with standard (18-55mm) lens to photograph the artworks in the caves.
Where to stay
At the Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Retreat.
What to eat
The award-winning menus and wine cellar at Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve are in keeping with the lodge’s status as a Relais & Chateaux establishment.
Try your hand at archery or croquet on the lawns at the resort. For a truly memorable break, book a culinary weekend or one of the special-interest packages at the resort.
A superb piece of locally-produced craft from the Trading Post shop on the premises.