!Khwa ttu San Cultural & Education Centre, situated an hour from Cape Town’s CBD on the West Coast’s R27 main route, is a non-profit tourist destination which celebrates the San culture and spirit – both the past and present – by educating the general public about the world of the San, providing training to the San, restoring and protecting their cultural heritage, and promoting the long-term financial sustainability of San development in Southern Africa.
The African Tourism Awards, presented on 10 April 2019 as part of the World Travel Market, celebrate the individuals, organisations and destinations making a positive impact on local cultures, communities and biodiversity.
Finalists and winners of this prestigious award have a passion that extends far beyond the commercial, and focus on the well-being of local people and communities and the longevity of their environments. Out of the 14 Gold and Silver winners of the awards, 12 were South African institutions.
!Khwa ttu Best Cultural & Heritage Experience
In 1998, the Working Group for Indigenous Minorities in Southern Africa (WIMSA) agreed that the San needed assistance in training their own people to deal with tourism and how to showcase the San culture to the world. In 1999 the farmland was purchased to create this dream. The original buildings on the farm were converted and the agricultural land was restored into a nature reserve.
Fast-forward 20 years and !Khwa ttu – meaning ‘water hole’ in San – is open to the public and houses a world-unique and state-of-the-art San Heritage Centre with interactive displays and presentations that depict the lives of the San. San guides tell the unfiltered stories of their people – coupled with audio and film to really bring the stories to life and immerse visitors in their culture. Live talks and interactive demonstrations are also offered.
The !Khwa ttu San Heritage Centre is a great deal more than a collection of artifacts and historical photos. It’s a pioneering initiative that embraces the principle of community curation, led by a team of academics and San consultants from across Southern Africa – and an important tool in preserving the San history, culture and stories.
In addition to the San Heritage Centre, visitors to !Khwa ttu can expect a restaurant, art gallery, gift shop, Dream Museum, San-guided nature walks, mountain-bike trails, hikes, trail runs, and accommodation.
“I am extremely proud to have accepted this Gold Award on behalf of !Khwa ttu,” says Michael Daiber, General Manager of !Khwa ttu. “All nominees, finalists and winners should be proud to be part of the Responsible Tourism Awards as it means they have been recognised as leaders in increasing positive economic, social and environmental impacts and have also reduced negatives ones.”
!Khwa ttu is only 70km from Cape Town located on the West Coast Way Culture Route and is open seven days a week from 9am to 5pm.
The Gold African Tourism Award winners included
Overall Winner of the African Tourism Awards – Grootbos Private Nature Reserve.
Best Habitat & Species Conservation – Grootbos Private Nature Reserve.
Best Responsible Attraction – Two Oceans Aquarium
Best Small Sustainable Event – Mdumbi Green Fair Festival
Best Large Sustainable Event – Meetings Africa
Best for Resource Management – Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company
See also Cape Town Green Map