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Restoring our natural environment and buildings

Natural environment

In designing !Khwa ttu, we wanted to take advantage of the land’s spectacular surroundings whilst creating a unique cultural experience for the visitor.

When the 850 hectare farm was purchased for the project in 1999, it was known as Grootwater, a wheat and sheep producing farm. The farm was renamed !Khwa ttu, meaning “water-hole” in the language of the now extinct |Xam San, and the land has been allowed to recover. Alien vegetation has been removed which is a huge fire hazard and threat to biodiversity, and indigenous wildlife (Eland, Zebra, Springbok) has been reintroduced. 

Built environment

When it was purchased in 1999 Grootwater farm had a number of rather dilapidated farm buildings.

San from across southern Africa participated in restoring the buildings and were involved throughout the project planning and implementation process. They were (and still are) being assisted by professionals in the field of development, tourism, anthropology, archaeology and education.

A great deal of work had to be undertaken to prepare the farm for visitors, staff and students. 

With the advice and support of professionals the !Khwa ttu team 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 the training academy an old sheep pen – previously the training centre, this will now become part of the Museum 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.

Today !Khwa ttu is based in several beautifully renovated old farmhouse buildings. The intention is to maintain these buildings and expand to accommodate the envisaged San Museum and more visitors.

Restoring our natural environment and buildings

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Latest news

!Khwa ttu Heritage Centre opened on 24 September 2018

On Heritage Day, 2018, the only heritage centre in the world dedicated to the San opened at !Khwa ttu. It is a remarkable resource, with three interlinked elements – the Heritage Centre building at !Khwa ttu, community satellites, and a digital archive.
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