Environment & Buildings
The land that we now know as ‘!Khwa ttu’ was purchased in 1999. It was then registered under the name of Grootwater, a wheat and sheep producing farm consisting of a number of rather dilapidated farm buildings. The land covers over 850ha and is located in the vicinity of the Atlantic village of Yzerfontein. This is an area not commonly associated with the presence of the San, yet the region’s history reveals that this was once part of the vast territory inhabited for centuries by hunter-gatherers who were brutally persecuted by Boer commandos in the late 18th Century. In honour of our ancestors, the project was named ‘!Khwa ttu’, the term for ‘water-hole’ in the language of the now extinct |Xam San.
In designing !Khwa ttu, we wanted to take advantage of the land’s spectacular surroundings whilst creating a unique cultural experience for the visitor. !Khwa ttu is now based in several beautifully renovated old farmhouse buildings. Our San brothers and sisters from across the entire region of southern Africa participated in this task and were involved ‘hands-on’ throughout all aspects of the project. Throughout the planning and implementation process of the project we enjoyed and are still enjoying the assistance of professionals in the field of development, tourism, anthropology, archaeology and education.
!Khwa ttu’s environment with its vast openness, rocky outcrops, indigenous fynbos vegetation and a number of game species offers wonderful possibilities to enjoy nature and rest the soul and mind. Before !Khwa ttu was officially opened to the general public in March 2006, a great deal of work had to be undertaken to prepare the site for visitors and tourists. With the advice and support of professionals we undertook the following:
- We removed alien trees in order to restore indigenous flora
- We erected a secure game fence around the perimeter of the land
- We restored indigenous fauna. Today you can see: Eland, Oryx, Zebra, Bontebok, Springbok, Ostrich, Duiker, Steenbok, Bateared fox, Caracal, Aardwolf, Porcupine and an abundance of birds species.
- We designed and built hiking trails, viewpoints and a picnic site.
- We designed and built a bush camp plus a ‘back to nature’ Bush House
- We renovated old buildings:
an old cottage - now trainer’s accommodation
an old sheep pen - now a training and office facility
an old cowshed and milk room – now a Photo Gallery and Audiovisual theatre.
- The original homestead and barn – now a stunning restaurant and modern kitchen, reception area, arts and crafts shop, office space and conference room.
- We also added four new buildings in order to provide accommodation for employees, trainees and shelter tools and tractors.