Tourism minister delighted with the launch of Twee Rivieren Interpretative Centre in honour of the ǂKhomani ancient tribe

Springbok and wildebeest at a watering hole in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. Picture: Unsplash

Springbok and wildebeest at a watering hole in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. Picture: Unsplash

Published Jul 24, 2023


Minister of Tourism, Patricia de Lille, launched the R3.5 million Twee Rivieren (ǂKhomani) Interpretative Centre and Narrative Development Project at the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in honour of the world’s oldest ancient tribe, the ǂKhomani.

According to the Tourism Ministry, the Interpretative Centre will provide a unique stop for tourists at Twee Rivieren Rest Camp in the Kalahari, known for its rich cultural and tourism offerings and home to the ǂKhomani.

“The exhibition installation will provide visitors with a demonstration of the cultural and natural heritage of the Park and ensure an immersive experience.

“It includes the collection of narratives and storyline of the local ǂKhomani communities within the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park,” said the ministry.

The ǂKhomani Cultural Landscape World Heritage Site is an important landscape as it forms part of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park with Botswana and borders Namibia.

“The significance of the park can be attributed to its compelling history and a very rich cultural heritage, with the original inhabitants, the ǂKhomani living close by and able to contribute in the interpretation of the park.

“Despite its rich cultural heritage, there is no interpretation centre to assist visitors to gain a full understanding and appreciation of the cultural landscape.

“Apart from the rich cultural heritage, the World Heritage Site has two important biomes with diverse fauna, and this attracts visitors from all over the world,” said the Tourism Ministry.

Minister De Lille said that she is delighted and deeply honoured about the launch of the Twee Rivieren Interpretative Centre project in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park as it pays homage to the unique culture of the ǂKhomani San.

“Through this centre, the Department of Tourism has enabled the local community to proudly share the narrative of their captivating culture to thousands of tourists who visit the park annually,” she said.

The Tourism Minister said that the outcomes of this initiative are to improve the overall visitor experience of tourists to the Red Dune Kalahari Region, facilitate educational trips of school groups and provide entrepreneurial opportunities for the local communities.

“This R3.5 million project is funded by the Department of Tourism, and SANParks has been appointed as the Implementing Agency. It is situated in a rural node within the Northern Cape Province, one of the regions identified by government for socio-economic development.

“The Department has supported a number of projects within the region, all with socio-economic beneficiation on the San Communities,” said De Lille.

South African National Parks (SANParks) Chief Executive Officer, Hapiloe Sello, said they are proud to be the custodian of the project that will assist in showcasing the rich culture of the Khomani and Mier communities and which is also the reason why Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park was incepted as one of the World Heritage Sites in South Africa.

She also encouraged tourists to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park to visit the Twee Rivieren Interpretative Centre as well as to take a guided hike with a ǂKhomani tourist guide to learn about the wisdom, customs and folklore of this ancient tribe.

“This centre is a remarkable achievement which could not have materialised had it not been for the collective input of the ǂKhomani, experts in history and anthropology and SANParks in the research and development of the narrative.

“It is a showcase of how Parks and Communities can work together for the greater good. This centre is about the people, by the people and for the people,” said Sello.