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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sevilla Rock Art Hiking Trail



We decided to find a hiking route somewhere nestled in between the lovely flowers that have started blooming on the West Coast. I called Clanwilliam information center, and they recommended this specific hiking trail as worth a go.



Having set our base to be Langebaan, we thought the drive to Clanwilliam will be a doddle. It took us a whole long 3 hours to get to our destination. Im not sure if its because we stopped so many times to take these stunning pictures (above is a Church just outside Langebaan and below is a Farmstall in Citrusdal), or if it really was that far - phew... Im not sure I will venture off into the Cederberg area without rather opting to spend the night and return the next day.



Location: Sevilla Rock Art Trail - Travellers Rest
Name of Reserve / Area: Cederberg Mountain Reserve
Nearest Town: Clanwilliam
Province: Western Cape
Country: South Africa

Duration of hike: 3 hours

Directions to get there: From Cape Town CBD, take the N7 to Clanwilliam. This route is about 240km from Cape Town.

Turn right towards Clanwilliam town and again right into the main road. Drive straight through Clanwilliam and head over the Pakhuis Pass. Travellers Rest is about 36km from Clanwilliam on the left, as you cross over the Brandewyn River.

Contact Information:
Traveller's Rest • Sevilla Rock Art Trail • Khoisan Kitchen
Tel & Fax: 027 482 1824
International calls + 27 27 4821824
E-mail: travrest@clanwilliam.co.za


Best time of year to go: Winter (July - September)








The rock paintings at this site reflect the religious experiences and beliefs of the San (Bushmen) whose ancestors lived in this area for more than 20 000 years. The printings cannot be dated directly, but they are in a similar style to others that have been dated to between 200 and 6 000 years ago elsewhere in the western and southern Cape.

Please enjoy looking at the art, but do not touch the paintings or deface them and other rocks in the vicinity in any way. Wetting the paintings is particularly harmful.

As part of our cultural heritage, all rock art is protected by the National Monuments Act (Act No. 28 of 1969). Anyone who damages the site is liable upon conviction to a fine of up to R10 000 or imprisonment up to 2 years, or both.


As soon as you have your permits from Traveller's Rest, you drive back to the main road and park your car opposite the start of the route, 300m from the entrance to Traveller's Rest.



What costs did you incur to do this hike: R35 per person per permit which is obtained from Traveller's Rest

How safe is it: We felt very safe.




Fresh Water: The entire walk is on the banks of the Brandewyn River, but I would recommend that you take your own drinking water.




Difficulty: Easy, for the whole family



Pets: No pets allowed

The entire walk was flat straightforward strolling alongside the scenic riverbed.

Site 1:
A group of faded red 'hookhead' figures is obscured by a later painting of a large group of people, coloured black by lichen. The hook heads are due to differential fading of pigments.



Site 2:
Site two is known as 'The Cave of Monsters' due to the lizard-like creatures depicted on the front on the shelter (dinosaurs?!). On the back wall is a group of figures who appear to be clapping. The large 'blobs' are thought to have been points of power used by trancing shaman. A zebra-like creature may be a representation of the extinct quagga. The shelter offers wide views of the valley and surrounding hills.









Site 3:
Site three is located around a monumental piece of rock which is tilted precariously forming a small gap affording wide views of the valley. The incomplete animals are painted onto the underside of the rock. They are thought to have human legs but bare a striking resemblence to the baboons which are common in South Africa. Nearby, a family group is portrayed, and there are many groups of black stick figures, possibly created using the black tar-like substance resulting from the accumulation of dassie dung!





Site 4:
Site four is dominated by equine figures, probably zebra or quagga.





Site 5:
Site five is a long, shallow overhang filled with many paintings. On the left hand wall is a very clear and finely executed archer, drawing back his bowstring. The black outline depicts a finely drawn Gemsbok. Elsewhere there is a beatiful picture of a new-born foal finding its legs, and a line of figures who appear to be marching up a fissure in the rock.







Site 6:
Site six includes a line of seven dancing women, demonstrating the characteristic steatopygia of the San, which results in enlarged buttocks which store fat reserves. Elsewhere are more interesting animals, including one which appears to be flying, and a small creature depicted in yellow ochre. There is also another very clear bowman, and a large black hook-headed figure.





Site 7:
Site seven is dominated by elephants! Two large yellow elephants greet you as you enter the cave. At approx. 75cm in lenght they are some of the largest paintings on the trail. Human figures are also depicted. Two 'hookheads' appear to be wearing white karosses, possibly with hoods. The small reddish elephant is close by. A long line of figures covers another wall.





Site 8:
Site has been used as a sheep and goat kraal for many years and is adorned with a variety of hand prints, some belonging to children. Some believe the prints were made by the Koi rather than the San.





Site 9:
Site nine is the last on the northern side of the valley. A large part of the rock face has split away and fallen into the front of the shelter, obscuring some older paintings of eland and zebra / quagga. Also behind the fallen boulder are several elongated figures. The freshly exposed rock face is adorned with two dancing ladies.








Site 10:
Site ten is located approx. 1km further along the trail on the south side of the valley in a low overhang. We did not go onto this last one due to time constraints. This fascinating painting depicts a 'procession' of a group of thirty-five people - twenty-five in the main, upper group and a further ten figures thought to be children or young boys shown lower down the rock. They appear to be wearing karosses and ornamental headgear.

We turned around after site 9 and had a brisk 30min walk back to our car.







How will I rate this hike?

I think it was really amazing to have been fortunate enough to be able to see the art of a almost forgotten African tribe - with such a deep rooted culture one can only walk away from this site with complete respect. The walk was easy, but the drive was way too far for a day-trip. Traveller's Rest offer accommodation, but I would recommend that you book in advance if you wish to come along and experience this part of our beautiful earth. Also a big thanks to Alex for driving me all the way here so that we could take these pics and write this article for our blogs.




Sources:
Traveller's Rest
Durham University Website

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