The History of Botterkloof

Folklore has it that in the 18th century, a Stilbaai farmer was travelling to the market with his ox-wagen – loaded with butter vats. In a valley 6 km from Stilbaai the wagon tipped over and butter spilled everywhere.

From that mishap the name Botterkloof! In 1994 Gert and Elsa Kruger bought the farm Botterkloof and started farming with ostriches, sheep, beef and pigs.

They setup a meat factory with 5 retail outlets. The business was sold in 2004 and the farm buildings converted to a Conference Centre, Chapel and different types of chalets / accommodation.

The farm consists of 240 hectares of which 30 hectares of pastures. The rest is mainly veld with 6 types of Proteas and an abundance of Fynbos. There are many walkways with game and a large variety of wild birds and waterfowl.

The Skoolhuis Complex – build in 1905 and opened in January 1907 – forms part of Botterkloof Resort. The first teacher employed by the school was Ms Jacoba Pieters, who at the time, teached to only 18 learners. Gert and Elsa took over the buildings and today the Skoolhuis Complex is a national monument and consists of the same original four buildings being build and the chalets can accommodate 24 guests in total.

Botterkloof Resort today offers different types of accommodation and has 18 chalets, re-opened the Coffee Shoppe @ Botterkloof in December 2015. The Ark - a communal building housing 50 people and is in the final stages of development.

Botterkloof Farm has over 2000 Olive trees that delivers a yearly production of Coranata, Calamata, Mission, Manzanilla, Frontoio and Lechino Olives and is bottled in Stilbaai and sold in our Farm Stall.

There is also a new addition as we planted a vineyard this year containing Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese and Merlot grape cultivars.

Skoolhuis
Skoolhuis:  Build in 1905

Close to the Beach

Six kilometers from the Resort is Stilbaai's pristine beach's. Boogie boarding, surfing, snorkeling and swimming all year round. Buy fresh fish daily at the working harbour. One hour away is the Robertson wine route with unbelievable value for money white and red wines.

 

The Cradle of Modern Humans

Our forefathers were living in the Langeberg region as long ago as 77 000 years! For some time now scientists have known that modern humans (Homo sapiens – the wise human being) originally came out of Africa.

They were people who had crossed the divide between animals and humans: they looked, thought and talked like us. Archaeology indicates that from about 100 000 years ago our forefathers slowly (every many centuries) started moving up through Africa, eventually populating the rest of the world via the Middle East . However, for these scientists the question was: did Homo sapiens start thinking in a “modern” way before or after leaving Southern Africa?

Recent archaeological excavations at Blombos Cave, overlooking the sea about 15km south-west of Stilbaai, clearly indicate that our Blombos ancestors had already begun thinking in a modern way.

Successive waves of these people had occupied the cave while hunting, fishing and gathering seafood and veldkos nearby. Probably because from time to time the local climate was more favorable for survival than it was elsewhere. In fact, the interplay of the unique climate, rivers, sea, fauna and flora of the Southern Cape created an ecosystem favorable to the evolution of humans as thinking and sensitive beings.

Till quite recently the theory was that these people while physically modern, only became behaviorally modern after entering Europe. Proof this was thought to be the exquisite stone and bone tools as well as beautiful rock paintings and small stone sculptures produced by their Cromognon descendants 40 000 years ago I the south-west of Europe. Further proof was the fact that the Cromagnon fished, which means that they had progressed a step further than being mere hunters and gatherers! However, this theory turned on its head by the Blombos finds. According to archaeological evidence the cave was intermittently occupied by Khoisan hunter gatherers during the past 3 000 years. Prior to that, the cave was unoccupied for more than 70 000 years, during which time nature deposited a thick layer of Aeolian sand over Middle Stone Age (MSA) levels, encasing it in a natural time capsule.

Recently, using optimally stimulated luminescence technology, scientists were able to date the time of the start of this deposit at 77 000 years before the present! The delicately crafted stone and bone implements of the Blombos MSA levels thus precede the comparable European artifacts by nearly 40 000 years! What's more, the Blombos people were also artists! More than 8 000 pieces of ochre, commonly used as colour pigment in artwork, were found in the MSA levels.

Ochre is not indigenous to the area and had to be imported. Some ochre pieces had even been engraved with geometrical patterns! Besides this, like their later European descendants, bone evidence shows that they also fished! In short Homo sapiens thought and acted wisely even before leaving for the north: 77 000 years ago, our Blombos ancestors' behavior was already modern. Should you want to know more about this fascinating tale, please visit the archaeological exhibition at the Stilbaai Information Bureau. You may also book a tour with one of their archaeological guides.