|09h00 – 09h45 :||Travel North towards the Swartberg Mountains from where we will commence our scenic eco-tour up the world renowned Swartberg Pass.|
|09h45 – 12h30 :||Scenic drive up the Swartberg Pass to the “Top” of the Pass before we enjoy an optional leisure hike on a Swartberg Mountain hiking trail.|
|13h00 – 14h00 :||Enjoy a light lunch|
|14h00 :||Return to Hotel / Guest House.|
Swartberg Eco- Excursion:
From your Hotel / Guest house we travel North to the Southern foothills of the Swartberg Mountains. From here we commence our 900-meter scenic eco-tour up the world renowned Swartberg Pass. At the summit of the Swartberg Pass (1 580 meter above sea level) you will enjoy a scenic walk on this National monument. The Pass has a gravel surface and was constructed by renowned road engineer, Thomas Bain over a 4-year period and opened on 10 January 1888. From the “top” of the Swartberg Pass you will enjoy picture perfect panoramic views over the Klein- and Great Karoo. The dry-stone technique used to construct the pass required extreme manual labour and is as solid as it was when constructed 127 years ago.
A qualified eco guide will accompany you on the optional scenic walk and introduce you to the spectacular Sandstone formations dating back more than 300 million years. Feasting your eyes on the full splendor of diverse “fynbos” species ranging from various protea species as well as “cone bush” and “pin cushions” will accentuate he need for conservation of our natural resources and habitats.
You may even spot a soaring Verreaux Eagle, Jackal Buzzard or any of the many species of Sunbirds feasting on the nectar of the proteas. The agility of the “Klipspringer” (small antelope) over the rugged sandstone formations will astound you.
The tranquility and serenity of this unique experience reflects the essence of a bygone era where wagons and riders on horseback was a familiar sight.
At the summit (“Die Top”) of the Swartberg Pass, we decent down the Swartberg Pass towards the offices of the H.O.P.E. Foundation. Here we learn about the Social and conservation initiatives pioneered by the members of the H.O.P.E. Foundation. From you can enjoy a leisure scenic hike on a Swartberg Hiking trail enjoying the diverse fynbos and bird species endemic to this protected vegetational biome. The trails are of moderate intensity and no formal hiking gear, apart from proper shoes, is required. At 1 350m above mean sea level, you will be treated to panoramic vistas over the northern slopes of the Swartberg Mountains (a UNESCO World Heritage Site).
After your hike we enjoy a light lunch before returning to your Hotel / Guest House in Oudtshoorn.
Introduction into the Attequa Khoi Culture
The H.O.P.E Foundation has also partnered with “Die Potskerf Indiginous and Heritage Research Centre” which was established in 2014 as the cultural educational arm of the Attaqua Khoi Tribe within the Oudtshoorn and Kannaland area.
Oudtshoorn and Kannaland apart for being referred to as the Klein Karoo or as ” small region of thirst,” is the ancient geographical tribal area of the Attaqua Khoi Tribe. There are a number of explanations for the term Kannaland which even includes a humoristic reference to the influxed of the Jewish population during the boom period of the Ostrich Feather industry. An indigenous perspective on Kannaland refers to the succulent Sceletium plant – known as “Kanna” or “Ganna“. Certain parts of the plant were chewed for different ailments and then referred to as “kougoed”.
The Attaqua Khoi was one of the bigger tribes within the Cape and occupied the hunting plains between the Swartberg in the North, Outeniqua as the southern border and the Kammanasie-Tsjitsikamma in the East with the Langeberg as its Western borders. The nomadic lifestyle of the group connected it to the southern cape coast at places like George and Mossel Bay. Mission stations were established with names of Pacaltsdorp, Dysselsdorp , Zoar and Matjiesrivier .These places were established at kraals which were stock outposts of the Attaqua and Outeniqua tribes within the area of Kannaland.
The first colonists entering the Attaqua region were Isaac Schriver1686 and the adventures of the 1701 expedition. The first permanent stock farmers received loan farms from the colonial government during 1738 within the Cango Valley. The competition for the natural resources of Kannaland destroyed the indigenous people to such extent that there were no signs of any khoi kraals in 1838. Your guide will also share with you the medicinal attributes of the various Fynbos herbs which were orally transferred from generation to generation by the Khoi tribe.