Ancient Fish Traps
Ancient Fish traps
Several concentrations of ancient inter-tidal stonewall fish traps are found on the Hessequa coast, some of which can be seen at the western beach area and Skulpiesbaai, Still Bay.
One of the easiest ways of harvesting fish in ancient times, would have been gathering those stranded in natural tidal pools. This would happen after the turn of the tide.
Most of the ancient fish traps are shaped in a half moon and vary in size. Early cage dwellers noticed that fish got caught in the natural tidal pools as the tide receded. The seaward side slopes gently to make it easy for the fish to swim into the trap. The internal face is vertical and clear of debris and sift. The Fish are trapped in the pools as the tide goes out . It is then an easy matter to remove the fish from the almost dry trap.
Enhancing the fish-trapping properties of tidal pools by a few well-placed stones would be a logical step, followed eventually by man-made pools. Thus, while it is unknown exactly when the tradition of building and repacking tidal fish traps originated. It is most likely that it dates back to the Middle Stone Age (which stretched from about 250 000 to 25 000 years ago).
The ancient rock pool fish traps, built by the Khoisan up to 3 000 years ago, are maintained and used by a group of local enthusiasts. The ancient fish traps are best visible at low tide.
Bring the family and enjoy this unusual ancient activity.
Remember to take fishing nets and experience a day full of fun and adventure, while you bask in the beauty of Still Bay.
Moenie die oeroue visvywers by Stilbaai in die Wes-Kaap op die Tuinroete misloop nie. Die vywers is gebou deur die Khoisan so ver terug in tyd as 3 000 jaar. Hulle het dit gebruik as ‘n maklike manier om vis te vang deur hulle in getypoele vas te keer.
Eers was bestaande getypoele effens gewysig om vywers te vorm, maar later is handgemaakte poele ook gebou. Dis ‘n unieke belewenis om hierdie vywers in lewende lywe te sien. So kan jy dan insien hoe die Koisan bevolking jare gelede vis gevang het.
Follow the N2 national highway from Cape Town to the Garden Route. A few Kilometers after Riversdale take the Stilbaai/Still Bay turn-off and drive 26km towards the coast.