There are two Caves of archaeological significance on the Overstrand Coast and both are named Klipgat, meaning literally ‘rocky hole’. One is seen as a large overhang on the southern side of Hoy’s Koppie in Hermanus, while the other is at De Kelders, near Gansbaai among a complex of open caves in the Walker Bay Nature Reserve.
These caves were probably occupied first between 50 000 and 60 000 years ago, by Middle Stone Age people, when the sea level was considerably lower.
During the later Stone Age, about 2 000 years ago, early Khoikhoi herders or their San hunter-gatherer antecedents probably also inhabited the caves. This is evident from the studies done at archaeological digs of the sites. At De Kelders, stone and bone artifacts have been observed as well as ornaments and animal remains. Some of the earliest pottery in South Africa was also found in the cave.
An open shell midden on Hoy’s Koppie showed that shell fish remains such as black mussel and alikreukel were predominant. There was also evidence of pencil bait, relatively rare in the Kleinriviersvlei due to human disturbance, limpets and even a tooth, possibly that of a hippopotamus!
The Klipgat Cave on Hoy’s Koppie is badly in need of some care and walking to it is not recommended.
Management Plan for Hermanus Cliff Path and Hoy’s Koppie July 1998
Lionel Paeper, Ama-Krokka, De Kelders
Did you know?
The Khoisan are thought to be two groups of people – the hunter-gatherers called the San and the herders, called the Khoekhoen, who have lived in Southern Africa, including the South Western Cape for many thousands of years.
Ever wondered what plants the Khoisan used to use?
The Harold Porter National Botanical Garden, has provided a glimpse into the lives of the Khoisan people who lived in the area for many thousands of years. Many of the resources that these Stone Age people knew and used are still to be found locally because they are being conserved by the Biosphere principles. Visit Harold Porter Gardens in Betty’s Bay, to learn more about their plants on the beautifully illustrated storyboards and plant labels.