The recently declared ‘World’s Best Hotel’ by Travel + Leisure Magazine is home to one of the world’s oldest recorded cultural sites…even older than the pyramids.
If the saying – the older you get, the more stories you tell – holds true, then the Cederberg Mountains could write a storybook the size of Tolstoy’s War and Peace. Pushing nearly five hundred million years old, these rocky majesties have seen the beginning of life and its slow and steady transformation into what we know of the world today. But no one goes to the Cederberg Mountains to get some perspective on the stories of today; no, they come here to see what has been written in the past from grandfather cultures on the ancient cave walls at Bushmans Kloof.
This area of the Cederberg was originally inhabited by the San, the aboriginal people of Southern Africa. Their distinct hunter-gatherer culture stretches back over 20,000 years, while their true genetics have roots over one million years old. Bushmans Kloof, with the help of resident archeologist Siyakha Mguni, have been studying the San and their cave paintings left behind. The paintings have been carbon dated between 2,000 and 10,000 years old, each one a window into the lives of the San people, how they lived in harmony with nature, and their spiritual connection to animals and the environment. Together Bushmans Kloof and Siyakha Mguni document and research all of the known rock-art sites, as well as potential new sites on the reserve, to create a database linked to a Geographic Information System (GIS) platform, to ensure the integrity of these sites for future generations.
For Ker & Downey guests at Bushmans Kloof, there are daily rock art excursions that take place in the cool mornings as you trek up into the Cederberg, where a light bush breakfast accompanies a flora and fauna lesson from your guide. In the evenings, archeologist Siyakha Mguni offers the chance to learn directly from his notes on the San rock art during pre-dinner presentations. Ker & Downey guests can also enjoy the intriguing game at Bushmans on game drives, mountain bikes, or on foot. Among a host of wildlife, a recent reintroduction program has seen an increase of the nearly extinct Cape Mountain Zebra, as well as the return of the magnificent Bontebok, Red Hartebeest, and Grey Rhebok. Bushmans Kloof also offers award-winning luxury accommodation for adventurers taking time out in the Cederberg, recently recognized by Travel + Leisure Magazine as the World’s Best Hotel in 2009.