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Heerenlogoment Cave
Heerenlogoment district, Western Cape



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31°57'49.14" S 18°33'05.80" E Alt: 232m

The historic Heerenlogoment Cave situated west of the Olifants River on the old farm Heerenlogement in the mountain which gets its name from the cave. The name means 'Gentleman's Lodging' because as early as the 17th century the historical cave, close beside the old main road to the Copper Mountain, was familiar to travellers who journeyed northwards from Cape Town. As early as 1661 Pieter van Meerhoff was within reach of the cave, and on 9 Nov. 1682 it was visited by Olof Bergh, in 1684 by Isaq Schrijver and in 1685 by Commander Simon van der Stel on his way to the Namaqualand copper region. The first names to be recorded in the cave (1712) are those of Kaje Jesse Slotsboo, a member of the Council of Policy, and others. Since then more names appeared on the north wall of the cave, among which are those of Ensign J. T. Rhenius (1721), C. P. Thunberg (1774), Hendrik Swellengrebel (1777), François Levaillant (1783), Barnabas Shaw (1816), James ALEXANDER (1836), James Backhouse (1840), Benjamin Ridsdale (1843), Andrew Geddes Bain (1854), and numerous others. In 1940 P. R. Kirby found altogether 174 names and sets of initials in the cave, many of which are undated. Moreover, many others may have weathered away in the course of time. It may also be assumed that many visitors since the 17th century have left no record of their names. On 19 Jan. 1777 Swellengrebel first made mention of the old white milkwood tree (Sideroxylon inerme) — also mentioned by Levaillant in 1783 and by Barnabas Shaw in 1816 - which grows in a rock crevice of its walls and still survives. Swellengrebel's description of the cave itself is probably also the oldest: 'These hills bear the name Heerenlogement because in the rocks there are various caves, among which there are two like spacious rooms; at the end of one of these there is a bench as in a theatre, formed by nature; both extend in the manner of an amphitheatre. Many trees grow here even though there is no soil near by'. The site was proclaimed a historical monument in 1939.

(Potgieter et al, 1972:471-472)

These notes were last edited on 2020 06 30

Writings about this entry

Potgieter, DJ (Editor-in-chief). 1972. Standard Encyclopaedia of South Africa [SESA] Volume 5 For-Hun. Cape Town: Nasou. pg 471-472