CapeNature unveils Truitjieskraal cultural heritage rock art site
Located in Matjiesrivier Nature Reserve east of the rocky Cederberg Wilderness, the newly upgraded Truitjieskraal interpretive trail has been unveiled by CapeNature, while the Matjiesrivier Nature Reserve itself has also been listed as a World Heritage Site.
In the Greater Cederberg region there are more than 2500 sites with rock art. Truitjieskraal arguably boasts the most impressive of these sandstone formations in the area with rock art dating back to 5000 years ago. To preserve this unique natural and cultural heritage, CapeNature has improved the trail with interpretation which takes visitors on an historical journey through San and Khoekhoe cultures spanning millions of years.
CapeNature CEO, Dr Razeena Omar, says: “People have cared for this landscape for thousands of years. The rock art and artefacts left behind by the indigenous people is so valuable and cannot be replaced, so it is vital that we preserve these memories and ensure future generations have access to this unique natural and cultural heritage.”
The Truitjieskraal trail provides a wonderful addition to the tourism attractions in the Cederberg along the Cape West Coast. The area already has the Algeria campsite which is a popular holiday destination; Rocklands, the world-famous destination for traditional climbing and bouldering; the magnificent Stadsaal cave, the Wolfberg Arch, as well as the 30 metre Maltese Cross, which is viewable from Truitjieskraal.
“On the Truitjieskraal trail, you now will find interesting insights about the lifestyles of people who have lived there, how the landscape formed, how plants and animals contribute to it and how dynamic ecological processes continue to change it,” adds Dr Omar.
While there are many areas which are preserved, the rock formations are ideal for sport climbing. CapeNature and the Mountain Club of South Africa has developed approximately 37 routes in the area. Also note that Truitjieskraal is a world renowned sport climbing location with the bolted routes that has been put in there. Climbers come from all over the world to climb here.
Western Cape minister of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Mr Anton Bredell, says: “The value of the work CapeNature does in making the Western Cape’s natural heritage assets more accessible and enjoyable for the public is not to be underestimated. The management successes of CapeNature has led to increased interest from the public, who are visiting our reserves in increased numbers. The launch of the upgraded Truitjieskraal trail is yet another feather in the CapeNature cap, one that is sure to be met with approval from our visitors.”
Truitjieskraal is on an old route from the farms in the east to those in the Breekkrans River valley in the west. Stock farmers used it until the mid-twentieth century to move their sheep and goats from winter to summer grazing areas.
Truitjie is an abbreviation of the girl’s name Gertuida. It is believed this was an overnight stop along the route named after a shepherd’s wife or girlfriend.
Descendants of the San and Khoekhoe live in the Cederberg on farms and mission stations. Many work today in nature conservation and the tourism industry.
About Matjiesrivier Nature Reserve
Proclaimed as a nature reserve in 2000 and a World Heritage Site in 2014, Matjiesrivier occupies a very special part of the Western Cape. The 12 800 hectare nature reserve is located in the transitional zone where fynbos and lowland succulent Karoo vegetation overlap. The diversity of fauna and flora found on the reserve thus offers visitors representations of both biomes. This semi-arid nature reserve also contains some excellent examples of the region’s geological and archaeological heritage, including the imposing Stadsaal cave, rare San rock art depicting elephants, and the newly opened Truitjieskraal interpretive trail.
A permit is required to visit these attractions and is available for purchase at any of the CapeNature offices (Matjiesrivier or Algeria) or at any private tourism offices in the Cederberg area. Permits cost R40-00 per adult and R20-00 per child.
Office hours 07:30 to 16:00
Images provided by Ramese Mathews/CapeNature