The Trappieskop Trail is one of those hikes you want to do over and over again. With kids. It is so do-able! The name says it all: trappies are little steps and kop is a head – the rocky steps lead upwards towards the mountain top. Stand here and look out over the entire Southern Peninsula!
Earth kids stood here, on top of Trappieskop, after a good trap up the little steps. They could see as far as Noordhoek, Kommetjie, Sunnydale, Silvermine, Fish Hoek, Kalk Bay and False Bay. Yea! It was liberating, breath-taking and educational all at the same time. Five Earth kids, all girls, had so much fun on this hike, the first of many we think.
What a pleasure to be out on a mountain in fresh clean air. What a pleasure to be in nature with Fynbos flowers, butterflies and birds. What a pleasure to be using our bodies and all six senses to explore our wonderful Cape.
History and Hiking
This hike and all the positive effects so inspired me that I returned home to discover the history about the trappies, the mountain and the people who found Trappieskop first. Hiking books reveal that this hike is 4km long if you start in Kalk Bay, walk up the mountain then veer left to the cave. We walked from Clovelly and we think that we walked 4 to 5 km in total, there and back. It took us two and half hours with snack break and exploration included. Does that sound like a good deal?!
We were sitting in the cave eating home made muffins and apples when I said to the kids: “Imagine the Strandlopers living here, waking at dawn, seeing what is going on for miles around, going hunting-gathering and returning at dusk to cook while watching the birds come in to roost?”
Did you know that Strandlopers come from Khoikhoi ancestry and survived as hunter-gatherers along these beaches? The name means “beach walker” and refers to people living on the coast who rely on beachcombing and food from the sea.
Cultural and Heritage Values
I also discovered that in fact Khoisan hunter gatherers / Strandlopers did shelter in these cave overhangs on Trappieskop thousands of years ago! There is evidence that they were here in the middens still to be found in the vacinity!
According to Sacred Sites Website, “Little is known of the ancient peoples of South Africa – the Bushmen, Stone Age, Hottentot, San, Khoi Khoi and Strandloper people… What is known about the early inhabitants of this region is that there was an ancient awareness and appreciation of the cycles of nature and the movements of the sun and moon.”
Dean Laprini has spent some 20 years researching this phenomenon and he has found evidence that “the early people of South Africa were far more intelligent, respectful and in tune with the life forces and nature that supported them than we have imagined.”
From our vantage point at Trappieskop caves, we could see Peers Cave in the distance, in Fish Hoek. This cave is a sacred site. Dean Laprini explains:
“From the beginning of mankind on Earth, sacred spaces have been identified and used by peoples before, and since, for metaphysical and cultural rituals of religion. These sacred sites were and are held in reverence as that that has shaped our evolution… A sacred site can be recognized and singled out as having a “sacred quality and value” to humanity and our planet. It can be land, water, people, plants or animals that deserve to be specially acknowledge, honoured, and protected. These sacred sites should be shared in a respectful way that enhances all life on Mother Earth.”
This rings so true. Where will humanity be without nature and the ancient cultures that can teach us how to reconnect with Mother Earth?
History is our Teacher
Kalk Bay is a fishing village in False Bay and the name literally means “Lime Bay”. History tells us that the bay was full of mussel shell deposits which the early settlers then burned to make lime!
This hamlet was also a whaling station – whales were harpooned here and dragged up to the beach to be cut up and distributed. According to Wikipedia, many whales were processed in Kalk Bay between about 1806 and 1850 before stocks were nearly wiped out. It is probable that slaves and free blacks lived here from the early 1800s. Many of the early fishing families would have been Muslim with their origins in Java and Batavia. Following the emancipation of slaves in 1834 the fishing population would have grown further. How fascinating is that?!
Geography Grounds Us
Did you know that some 15 000 years ago, the sea covered the Cape Flats and Noordhoek valley, and that the Peninsula was actually a group of islands? And then, the sea would recede so far back that False Bay resembled a huge dune! Beach sands containing remnants of shells and estuarine muds have been covered over by dunes and some of these date back to prehistoric times.
In this document, the fascinating history of the Southern Peninsula is revealed. Find out how isolated the road to Simonstown was due to such enormous geographical changes going on.
“It truly was a ‘road of adventure’. The difficulties started at Muizenberg, where mountains came down to the sea, and the road was a stony track hacked out of the mountain. Wagons had to be hauled over ridges and manoeuvred through streams, sprayed by the sea. Then, round the sandy curve of Kalk Bay to the most dangerous “Trappies” (‘little steps’), onto the sand of Fish Hoek bay, where sand quickly became waterlogged by the Silvermine river and ‘man, beasts and wagons could be sucked into the quick sands if they were not very careful’. There are stories of horse and riders sucked into the quicksands, never to be seen again.”
These are the same Trappies going up to the caves where we had our snacks! Even more fascinating is the period after the sea levels dropped. The plains evolved into lush, watery grasslands where animals roamed “including grazing antelope, quaggas, elephants, hippopotamuses, rhinoceros, lions, leopards and buffalo. The first colonists recorded these encounters, including Simon van der Stel, who, in 1687, searching for safe anchorage in False Bay, came across a large ‘tiger’ (most likely a leopard) and enthusiastically reported on the abundant game (including a marauding lion, which forced him to sleep in a tent after it had killed one of the party’s sheep) and fishing.”
Sacred Sites and Cultural Significance
Everything worked in tune with the stars and moon too. Sacred Sites notes that “Research of archeological and historical archives suggest that ancient Stone-Age man, Bushmen, Hottentot, San, KhoiKhoi and Strandloper peoples, who lived in and around these sites, had a cosmological belief system and most probably interacted with the Pathways of the Sun. The KhoiKhoi recognized various star constellations – when the Pleiades were seen rising over the eastern horizon it signalled the time of the coming rains. They were also seen to go out and pray at sunrise and to celebrate the new moon by dancing and singing.”
There is still so much that we do not know or understand about our area or the Universe. The first step is to get out and explore, to do the research and to try to understand. For we are not the first to enjoy these mountains and these beaches – we need to sanctify these areas and treat them sacred for generations to come. Most especially for the animals, plants and other living things that depend on these areas to survive.
An archive of ancient knowledge is hidden in the mountains, rocks, surrounding caves and rock shelters used by the ancient indigenous peoples of South Africa. More than 100 observatories, each in perfect astronomical alignment, have been recorded over an 800 kilometers area. At present an enormous amount of scientific research into the study of light and sound, electro magnetic fields of the sun and the earth, their gravitational effects and frequencies is being carried out. Cosmic sound frequencies explored in outer space (the music of the Universe), the geomorphic resonance or frequency of the earth (the earth’s heartbeat) termed the Schuman Resonance, is speeding up and is of particular interest. Perhaps the cryptic clues that lie hidden in the sacred geometries of these sites, hold some ancient wisdom that can help shed further insight on our future evolvement.