Uniondale, Western Cape

Uniondale in the Kamanassie Mountains.
The Kamanassie and Kouga Mountains around the village of Uniondale used to be the refuge of the ancient San. They lived in the many caves and overhangs of these mountains, and their shamans had special rocks which they used as ‘curtains’ to move between the current world and the spirit world.

The San around here were called the Sonqua. On certain farms in the Uniondale area, one can go on a guided walk up to the old caves through fields of fynbos which bear the heady aromas of crushed wild mint, lavender and sage.

The artwork in the caves is simply fascinating. Dancing medicine men, flying swallows bringing rain, laden women bearing food, long renditions of a puffadder and running antelope. All of which invites your personal interpretations.

Down in the nearby village of Uniondale, you might hear the bells of the Mother Church and wonder why they make such a soft, muted clang. The story goes that three very heavy Dutch bells were installed back in 1883, but that they were so bulky they damaged the church tower. So they were built into a new tower and firmly fixed onto a wooden beam. A manual pulley system activates the clappers and results in a rather gentle ringing of the bells.

You cannot leave Uniondale without hearing of its famous ghost.

Back in 1968 an engaged couple were driving in the rain, not more than 20km from Uniondale. The young woman was sleeping in the back seat of the car while her fiancé was driving. In the foul weather, he lost control of the vehicle and the girl was killed.

They say the unfortunate passenger has now become a ghost hitch-hiker. And if you give her a ride, she will disappear out of your car at some stage, slamming the door and departing with a manic cackle.

No one actively markets ‘The Ghost of Uniondale’ around here, but the locals will tell you about it if you ask…

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