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5 Fresh Looks at Western Cape Destinations

February 13, 2014 By:

At a dead end in the beautiful Cedarberg, is a village called Wuperthal, that time seems to have forgotten. Think thatch and white buildings and you’ll get the picture. Established in 1820 as a Rhenish missionary, some locals were taught to make leather shoes, including the famous South African vellie, velskoen, veldskoen … you know it, right? The things farmers and David Kramer wear. They’re still making them; apparently Nelson Mandela was given a pair when he visited and he put them on straight away.

Forget the Loch Ness monster and focus on a mysterious and mythical being right here in the Western Cape. The Buffelsjags River at a little village called Suurbraak, near Swellendam, has been the location of sightings of Kaaiman for decades now (at the very least). Described as half human and half fish, it is said to have long dark hair and red eyes – a mermaid, in fact. And if you don’t see her, you can simply enjoy the very pretty rural surroundings; you’ll probably even spot a horse or donkey cart on the village streets.

If your travels take you to the Little Karoo, you may be interested to learn that the first European to see it was a man called Ensign Shrijver, who was guided there by a Griqua man, along ancient elephant trails. And when you see the Feather Palaces and ponder the decline of the ostrich feather trade, rest assured that the area is still the ostrich capital of the world – though at 200 000 or so birds, they’re still outnumbered by the human population of Oudtshoorn.

When you visit Robben Island, spare a moment for the shrine (kramat) of Tuan Matarah. Imprisoned there in the mid 1740s,  Sayed Abdurahman Moturu, an imam and prince, was said to have been able to come and go as he pleased, by walking on water, and that he provided cures and comfort to his fellow prisoners. It was built in 1961 and Muslim political prisoners would pay homage before leaving the island.

South Africa’s only tame eels can be seen in the Pallingat fountain next to the tourism offices of Stilbaai. You can meet them at 11h00 most days and in case you were wondering, they are hand fed chicken livers. 

LandnSand Rover

LandnSand Rover was a Stellenbosch street cat, before he joined the team as an intern roving reporter. Some say that he can be seen late at night, prowling along Dorp Street to the town centre, in search of hot leads (or a bar that won't inspect his ID card too closely). His interests include fishing, wine and mice and his main ambition is to grow old enough to attend wine tastings. He answers all his own fan mail.


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  • Comment Link what is it worth Monday, 14 April 2014 12:41 posted by what is it worth

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