Nelspoort is a small community in the depths of the Central Karoo. Nelspoort lies in a long-abandoned loop of the old N1 highway between Beaufort West and Three Sisters on the road from Cape Town to Johannesburg.
The Bushmen and Khoi visited the surrounding koppies and left their mark in rock engravings. In time gone by, the indigenous Bushmen were the only people who lived around what is now Nelspoort. Their chosen shelter was benign Tierkloof, where the wilderness winds of the Great Karoo only whisper during the harsh winters.
The Bushmen are long gone, but here you can still create mind images of them sitting in the warmth of the winter sun chattering in their strange clicking language as they fashioned hunting implements, pierced ostrich shells for necklaces or drilled holes into round rocks.
These provided leverage for digging sticks, essential implements in the arid environment of the Karoo where plant roots were a delicacy. Today, the remains of these curious stones are occasionally still found on the veld. From the engravings of real and dream animals they left on the rocks one gets the feeling that the Bushmen were happy at Tierkloof. One shows a strange creature with wide horns like an ox which might be a Megalotragus, a bovine extinct for 10 000 years - or perhaps Pelorovisantiquus the extinct giant buffalo thought to have become extinct about 7 000 years ago - or perhaps it is a Spirit World animal?
With conservation in mind, permission must be obtained to visit the Nelspoort Rock Art sites. Birds and creatures with bird forms are depicted in many of the engravings, which, say experts, indicate that a shaman once lived here. Later white farmers established their homes here and for a time the Sanatorium brought peace and healing to many TB sufferers.
Much of the romance has faded, like the clamour from the bars of the railway hotels, but the memories linger, challenging visitors of the Modern World to step out onto the veld and explore. Many have done just that and been intrigued by what they have seen
Today the community welcomes visitors who come to see the ancient relics of long-lost peoples, the Karoo plants and the game which is farmed in the district and to enjoy the clear air and brilliant night skies.
Information and photos courtesy of Beaufort West Tourism.
|Nelspoort Tourism Office Information|
|Telephone:||023 316 1287|