Posted on December 19, 2013

Names engraved on the walls of the cave. Credit: Heather MacAlister

Names engraved on the walls of the cave. Credit: Heather MacAlister

For hundreds of years travellers, botanists, astronomers, ministers and Missionaries have travelled northwards from Cape Town and spent the night at the 'Heerenlogement' also known as 'The Gentleman's Lodging', a huge cave on the slopes of the Langeberg Mountains approximately 20 km north of Graafwater in the Western Cape.

Its an easy walk of about 15 minutes up the mountain-side, but if you have not been their before its difficult to imagine there is a cave where you could stay warm and dry in and keep your horses well sheltered for the night.

The Sandveld, seen from the mouth of the cave. Credit: Heather MacAlister
There is nothing particularly gentlemanly about this huge mountain retreat but it does have a magnificent view of the Sandveld, a large wild fig tree growing through the cracks of these ancient rocks of quartzite and a spring of crystal-clear water.

It has something else that must have been of particular interest to curious 'gentlemen' who sought shelter there; a record of the names of others who had been there and who had painstakingly engraved their names on the hard sandstone walls of the cave.

My interest in this cave grew after several visits to the cave. I wanted to know more about the people that had visited this special place: who they were, what their occupations were, why they visited and who accompanied them on their travels. So, taking notes of the clues engraved on the walls I turned to the archive for some more information.

Archaeological evidence shows that local indigenous people discovered the route to the Heerenlogement long before the white people arrived and it was probably they who directed Jan Danckert there in 1660 when he passed by with a Dutch expedition bent on exploring the areas north of the Cape of Good Hope.

I don't think that Danckert had any idea how little the cave in which he took refuge would change over the years or how many visitors would spend the night and take shelter under the large overhang in the centuries that followed.

The explorer Francoise Le Vaillant described a visit to the cave in the 1780's. Credit: Heather Mac Alister
Another explorer, Francois Le Vaillant, passing that way in 1783suffered from want of water and ignorance of the road. On his northward travels he stopped at Lange Vlei, a 'plantation' in a 'sandy and miserable' district not far from the coast. Almost midway between Cape Deseda and Lamberts Bay. Further on they found 'nothing but a sandy desert covered with briers and rushes " (in which Graafwater lies), which he traversed on his way to Heerenlogement. Of this place he had received information as unreliable as that which the unwary traveller in Namaqualand frequently receives today. He writes that, he was led to expect " a very abundant spring of water, a most agreeable retreat, and groves and grottos covered with inscriptions and figures." But he was disappointed noting that, when he reached it, " its waters were soon rendered turbid by my Hottentots and cattle. With regard to the grotto, the inscriptions, the creeping shrubs hanging in festoons, all these like a dream vanished on our approach. I saw only a large cavern, which served to shelter my caravan and me. It was spacious and lofty; and being open at the east. We were covered without being shut up in it. Situated upon a small mount, it overlooked on one side my camp and the plain, . . . and on the other was joined to an immense chain of dry mountains extending in the form of an amphitheater." It must be said that the description is inaccurate in some details.

He proceeds, " I made preparations for passing the night in the grotto; but I was obliged to share it with jackdaws and wood-pigeons; which repaired to it at the close of the day and perched in hundreds on a tree, the roots of which were implanted in an enormous crevice, while one of its branches overspread the floor of this natural hall. The figures and inscriptions consisted only of a few caricatures of the elephant and ostrich, with the names of three or four travellers who had probably stopped here formerly, like myself, to refresh themselves." He stayed at Heerenlogement for seven days. " At length, however, on the fourth of July ... I quitted the place, after having left my name awl the date of my arrival in the grotto, according to the custom of preceding travellers."

Captain James Edward Alexander, travelling westwards to Walfish Bay (now Walvis Bay) in the latter end of the year 1836, also visited Heerenlogement, "where was a pool of water under a hill, some distance up which is a large and open cave or kliphais. A small tree grows out of the fissure in the rock above and partly overshadows the cave, whilst on the north side is carved the names of travellers and hunters from the year 1712 to recent periods. Among others conspicuous is that of the renowned Looking from the cave in a westerly direction, the eye ranges over a wide extent of plain in which bushes are scattered."

The cave at Heerenlogement was visited by Percy Sladen in an expedition to the Khamiesberg in 1910 and he recorded the following in his notes: 'The sandstone which forms its walls and roof is very friable, and there are abundant signs that its area is diminishing by reason of the breaking away of rock at the entrance. It is used as a shelter for stock, and some of the inscriptions are so worn down by friction that they are now almost obliterated, and of the few who have visited it in recent years a considerable proportion have felt impelled to inscribe or paint their own names on the walls at the risk of confusing the earlier and more interesting records. The situation of the cave renders any adequate measure of protection exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, and there is every probability that before many years have passed it will have lost the principal feature of the interest, which it possesses, to day. It there- fore seemed desirable to place on record the fact that the name that Le Vaillant carved on the wall in the week ending July 4, 1783, is probably as distinct in 1911 as it was when Alexander saw it in 1836.'

A large ficus tree, mentioned by several travellers over the years.Credit: Heather MacAlister
Sladen also took photos of the mouth of the cave about 100 feet above the base of the hill and also the eastern wall of the cave where he said from a large crevice in which there emerges a well-grown tree of Ficus cordata' This tree is growing still.

There is little doubt that this is a part of the same tree that was described by Alexander in 1836, and it is probable that the main branches are those, which he saw. It is not, however, the only Ficus stock in the cave, and although the crevice in which it grows is the only one to which Le Vaillant's epithet "enormous" could be applied, it is, perhaps, not safe to assume that the tree at present existing is the one on which the jackdaws and pigeons perched in July, 1783. There is, however, no priori improbability in this, for it is well known that species of Ficus do attain a great age. This is probably the nearest approach that there is to definite evidence as to the rate of growth of the common Namaqualand fig, Ficus salicifolia var. cordata if this is Le Vaillant's identical tree, it can have increased but little either in the diameter or spread of its branches within the period of a century. The third photograph shows a view of the north wall as seen from the middle of the or spread of its branches within the period of a century. The third photograph shows a view of the north wall as seen from the middle of the cave. The name " F. Vailant," with the date 1783, stands near the centre.

Immediately above it is that of K. Zegner, the famous botanical collector. The partnership between C. F. Ecklen and K. Zegher, which did so much to increase the knowledge, of South African vegetation, was entered into when the former returned to the Cape after a visit to Europe to dispose of his earlier collections. In 1829, while Ecklen visited the eastern parts of Cape Colony and Kaffrland, Zegher went northwards to Clanwilliam, the Olifants River, and the Cedarbergen, and thence to Namaqualand, the Khamiesberg, and the valley of the Orange River.

This journey would give him the opportunity of visiting Heerenlogement by the same route from Clanwilliam as was later followed by Alexander. It is interesting to note that Alexander himself resisted the temptation to leave a similar record of his visit. The date 1712, to which he refers in the description quoted, is seen above Zegher's inscription, but it is not now possible to be certain of the name to which it belongs. The "few caricatures of the elephant and ostrich " seen by Le Vaillant may have been Bushman drawings; they are no longer recognizable.

The comparatively excellent water supply at Heerenlogement made it an important place of call on the old road to the north, and in former times the great majority of the travellers must have visited it between Cape Town and Namaqualand. According to local tradition, there is in its neighbourhood a relic of an expedition, which preceded that of Le Vaillant by nearly a century. Almost the largest exploring party that has ever left Cape Town for the interior was that of Governor Van der Still, which numbered no less than sixty-two persons, of whom fifty- seven were Europeans. The principal object of the expedition was to extend the existing knowledge of the geography of Namaqualand and the districts to the south of it, and, in particular, to locate the copper-bearing rocks which were known to occur to the north of the Olifants river. It has even been claimed that Van der Still saw the Orange River. This, however, is improbable, though his inquiries undoubtedly first established the fact of its existence. This large party, with an equipage consisting " of a calish drawn by 6 horses; of 8 asses, saddle-horses, 2 field-pieces, 8 carts, 7 wagons, one boat, and 289 draught and pack oxen, together with 6 other wagons, each drawn by 8 oxen," travelled northwards by way of the Olifants river-valley, and must, therefore, have passed to the east of Heerenlogement.

On their return, however, they came south through the sand-belt, and, having crossed the Olifants River, made for Lambert bay, a line that would probably bring them into the close vicinity of Heerenlogement.

These are but some of the fascinating stories associated with the travellers who have left records of their visits to this cave.


This timeline is based on the names and dates engraved on the walls of the cave. While some visitors are well known and their visits are well documented, information on others is scant but I have undertaken research to find out where and when they were born, when they died, who they married, what their occupations were and how they came to be at the Heerenlogement.

1650 - Jan Danckert. Jan was an explorer at the Cape, came from Nijnoven, a town in the province of Groningen in the Netherlands. His occupation at the Cape was midshipman on the De Gecroonde Leeuw at the end of 1659. On 8 December he saw between two or three hundred elephant on the banks of a broad river, after the Sonquas (Bushmen) had shown them the footpath across the mountains, approximately where the present-day Piekenierskloof Pass is situated. The local inhabitants called the river the Tharrakkamma or Ruyge River, but Danckert gave it the name of 'Oliphants reviere'. He was convinced that he had reached the mythical Rio de Infante and that he must have been very close to the city Vigiti Magna. Since other members of the party were also taken ill, Van Meerhof and five others remained behind at the Olifants River, while he journeyed further north with four Whites and two Hottentots. The high mountains in the area, today known as Clanwilliam, prevented them from going any further; and on 23 December he decided to turn back. It appears from his journal that his men would not carry out his instructions, and after their return to the Cape on 20.1.1661 Van Riebeeck considered that the expedition had failed because of bad discipline. He immediately organised another, and on 24.1.1661 the Council of Policy decided that D. would be allowed to go on the expedition into the interior, but that Pieter Cruythoff would lead it. Danckert name does not, however, appear on the list and is not mentioned again in the annals of the history of the Cape.

1655 - Jan Wintervogel led the earliest expedition to the north and reached the Zwartland, where Malmesbury is today. 1657 - Abraham Gabbema. In this expedition also included Hans Peter Faszbenger or Faszbergen 'een treffelijk landbouwer'. Drowned 18.1.1658' Also in this group was chap called Christian Jansen from Husum who was noted as 'zealous, observant and trustworthy' In 1659 appointed superintendent of the Comp.'s stables, in 1662 equerry (stalmeester). He also kept a hostel. Jansen was married to Styntje Jansen of Husum

1661 - Jan Danckert went north again.

1682 - Olof Bergh. Olof was born in Gothenburg, Sweden in 1643 and died in Cape Town in 1724. He was the V.O.C. official and leader of expeditions to the interior came of a notable Swedish family, but nothing is known of the line of his descent or of his youth in Sweden. He married Anna de Koning, the daughter of Angela van Bengalen, at the Cape. Ten children were born of the marriage and B. became the first South African ancestor of one of the best-known Afrikander families. His direct descendants still live in the Clanwilliam area and some not very far from the Heerenlogement today. He led his expedition to Namaqualand. On his way he perhaps passed the mountain seems to have started the fashion of inscribing your name on rocks. He scratched his name into the rock at 'Berghfontein' which is 9 kilometres from the Heerenlogement. He named the mountain as Dassenberg when he travelled through on Monday 9th November. He journey was accompanied by Christoffel Henningh (sergeant), Hans Jurian Elingh (sergeant), Reynier, Daniel and Rosierick Hermansz (helmsman) none of who's appear on the rock face or in the cave. Only in Graham Botha's Cape History and Social Life does it mention Hendrik Claudius, of Breslau, who was not only an apothecary but good at drawing and painting animals and plants, and was instructed to keep a journal of the people met, animals and plants seen, and other occurrences

1683 - Olof Bergh travelled again north but again never added his name to the cave wall

1684 - Isaq Schrijver, when still a sergeant led an expedition into Namaqualand and he too never inscribed his name. It is noted in Dictionary of South African Biography that in 1689 he was the leader of expeditions into the interior, was an ensign in the service of the VOC. It is not known exactly when he arrived at the Cape. On 31.3.1690 he was sent out with twenty soldiers, ten or twelve free burghers and three or four wagons in another attempt to find the crew of the Noord, and some time after his return he departed (11.9.1690) with thirty soldiers to barter livestock for tobacco, arrack and beads from the Hessequa and Sousequa Hottentots. Schrijver was subsequently sent on two more bartering expeditions in 1691 and 1692, but found the Hottentots more and more hostile. On 13.12.1696 he was ordered to track down slaves belonging to free burghers among the Griqua Hottentots and was told that if the latter refused to give them up he was to bring some of the indigenous people (Hottentots) back as hostages. This was done and S. returned with two bosjesmans (also called 'bergmannetjes') whom the Council of Policy decided to detain until the slaves were returned.

In another instance in the same book source it mentions that a Heinrich Oldenland went on an expedition north under Isaq Schrijver, which set out on 4.1.1689. In 1690 The Council of Seventeen instructed the Cape Commander, Simon van der Stel, by letter to order Oldenland to grow and collect medicinal plants, which might be found at the Cape, so that Batavia and Ceylon could be supplied with them. The latter date is contradicted by the original date in the cave.

1685 - 1686 - Simon Van der Stel also journeyed to Namaqualand with a large party, which included more than 50 people. He camped by the mountain and recognized one of Berghs resting places. The Commander had three slaves as personal attendants, and was accompanied by fifty-six Europeans, a Macassar prisoner of state, with a slave attendant, drivers and leaders, and several Hottentots as interpreters. Amongst the Europeans was Claudius, who had been with Bergh, and on this trip he made a number of coloured drawings, some of which are still extant.

1705 - Johannes Starrenburg also went north with instructions from Willem Adrian Van Der Stel. The only people mentioned in his party were: Corporal Willem Brentgens and Jan Hartog the gardener. None of their names appear either.

1712 - Kaje Jesse Slotsbo lead a large expedition. Out of a total of 181 men at least 99 were Europeans, but apart from one soldier Matthys Indsidlaar who drown at Ongeluckigen Valley (meaning unlucky valley).

1712 - Casp Hemery (part of Slotsbo's party)

1712 - I. Sersein (probably part of Slotsbo's party)

1721 - I. T. Rhenius 30 September. Johannes Tobias Rhenius was born in Berlin, Germany and was the son of Isaak Rhenius of Rhee and Anna Shuster. He arrived at the Cape circa 1708 and married on 7th March 1717 to Engela Bergh

1724 - I. T. Rhenius 08 October

1732 - R. I. Abeil Ano 1732, D.3.Jan.

1732 - I. E. Blass, 1732, D.3. Jan. Christian Blass farm hand 1730 - 1733

1732 - I. M. Zang, 1732, D.3.Jan - Johannes Martyn Zang born in Ortwig, Brandenburg, Germany. He married Johanna Van Zyl 10th August 1735 who was the daughter of Willem Van Zyl and Christina van Loveren.

1739 - I. P. Giebler, 24 September 1739. It is interesting to see that Johann Philipp Giebler (q.v.) and from Sept. 1-30 was stationed at the Simonsberg mine in Namaqualand (C 730, p. 243). He was also married to Anna Margaretha Hop who was the daughter of Hendrik Hop

1739 - F. M. Lourens, 24 Sp. 1739

1741 - I. A. Losper, 1741 D.15 Aug

1743 - V.S.M.

1743 - G.B.R. - A. 1743 Inder. There is no question that V.S.M. and G.B.R. on the 11th and the 12th respectively engraved their names. They would have travelled together. The two sets of initials follow one another and in turn by date.

1747 - Jacob Breedt. Jacob Cloete accompanied him on 25th October.

1747 - Jacob Cloete. 1747 D 25 October 'bin ik gekomen alby heer'

1752 - P. Laubster (sic) This name and date was given by Andrew Smith in his list of 1828 but no trace is to be found on the rock. It must have been obliterated either deliberately or by accident.

1759 - I.A. v.d. Heever

1761 - 1762 Hendrik Hop travelled north with a large party and camped at the mountain but neither he nor any of his men left their mark. 'Saturday 1st August we left Ratel-klip, but since our oxen had become very weak by reason of the great heat and poor pasturage, we were compelled to rest after a journey of a league and half and the place called Heerenlogement. On his return journey on Monday 12 April 1762 he noted 'We travelled with one of the Company's (VOC) wagons to the place called Heerenlogement. It is also interesting to see that on this expedition Johan Andries Ook (Auge), the botanist, who was described on the official list as 'thuynier' or gardener. Other party members included but not mentioned in previous publications Surgeon Carel Christoffel Rykvoet, a mineralogist. Thirteen Colonists volunteered, amongst them were well-known South African names as Coetsee, Roos, Joubert, Heyns, Kruger, Marais, Badenhorst, Greeff and Van Niekerk. Fifteen wagons, each drawn by a span of ten oxen, and sixty-eight half-breeds accompanied the party.

1774 -Johann Andreas Auge. He was sent on many journeys to distant places to collect 'planten, gewassen, kruijden, insecten, ens.' and accompanied Hendrik Hop on his expedition to Namaqualand (1761) and Thunberg and Masson on their travels in South Africa.

1774 - Charles Peter Thunberg - gave graphic description of his journey and added his name to the fifteen or sixteen existing names on the cave wall.

1778 - William Paterson - on his second visit but neither him nor his companions engraved their names on either visit. He was accompanied by Mr. Van Renan (sic). He was sent to the Cape Colony by the wealthy and eccentric Countess of Strathmore to collect plants; he arrived in Table Bay on board the "Houghton" in May 1777. He made four trips into the interior between May 1777 and March 1780, when he departed. In 1789 Paterson published Narrative of Four Journeys into the Country of the Hottentots and Caffraria, which he dedicated to Sir Joseph Banks.

1779 - William Paterson - on his 4th journey in July he visited the mountain again.

1779 - Colonel Robert Jacob Gordon. Robert was a Dutchman of Scottish origins and was the Commander of the Company's Garrison at the Cape, which he first visited in 1773. He returned again in 1777 and remained her until his death in 1795.

1779 - William Paterson again visited the spot on 6th December. He mentions, 'I parted with my Hospital friend 'Niuwe Houds', and also convoyed by his two sons through the Elephants River, which I expected to find impassable. The water was so deep that it came up to our saddles. The same day we arrived at the Heer Lodsiement (sic). I left the wagon and directed my course through the sandy plain to the house of Mrs. Low (sic), situated in the long valley.

1780 - I.E. Ludike - D. 29 Oc. Mossop gives the name as J. Eludike. There are however, dots engraved clearly between the I and E, and the E and L.

1783 - F. Valliant - Francois left a rather elaborate description of the mountain and the cave as the well as the first picture of the spot, through crude and doubtless engraved in Europe, gives some idea of his locality. (Caspar Hemery)

1791 - A. Meha (sic)

1794 - C.P.P.

1794 - C.M.N. - D. 9 Maart. This is of initials follows the one before and the date would have been the same. Above these to entries, and in a similar lettering is the name I.A. Neethling; but it is not certain that it belongs to the same date.

1795 - I.C.S.

1800 - I. H. Nieuwoudt. J. H. Nieuwoudt was the Heemraad of Clanwilliam 1823 - 1824.

1801 - (?) T. Watson

1806 - C. Mostert, den 12 iuny an 1806

1809 - A. Farquhar. Wesleyan Missionary

1812 - A. P. Spreeth

[18] 15[?] - L. E.D. [?]

1816 - B. Shaw. Rev Barnabas Shaw left Cape Town on 16 September 1816, accompanied by his wife and Rev. John Henry Schmelen of the London Missionary Society. On the 28th the Party visited the cave.

1816[?] - R. Jackson

1817[?] - Hendrik [?] Dams - Hendrik Wilhelm Dames born in Cape Town in April 1785 and died in Cape Town 17 November 1838 aged 53 years 7 months and 11 days. He was the son of Hendrik Wilhelm Dames and Helena Lampe van die Kaap. He was married to Elsje Johanna Ziegelaar.

1817 - Robert Moffat left Cape Town with Kitchingman, the missionary and his wife and on the 22 September en route for Bisondermeide in Namaqualand. In all probability he passed the Heerenlogement although he does not say so himself. He more than likely to the Eastern route, as Campbell had done in the reverse direction in 1813.

1819 - P. D. Waal, d21july 1819

1823 - Peiter [sic] de Waal, den 20 Septr., 1823

1828 - Andrew Smith. In this year Dr. Andrew Smith visited the mountain, as his manuscript notes on birds prove conclusively, for he mentions in the three entries. The date of one of these is 7th June, the next is undated but the 3rd concerns his return journey in January 1829.

1829 - Andrew Smith visits the Heerenlogement again

1829 - K. Zehyer botanist and professional plant collector. Karl Ludwig Philipp Zeyher. Born 02 August 1799 in Dillenburg, Hesse, Germany and died on 13 December 1858. In1829 Z. went into partnership with the Danish botanist and plant collector, C. F. Ecklon, who had arrived at the Cape in 1823. They combined their plant collections and their collecting. Under this agreement Z. went alone to the Olifants River, the Cedarberg range and Clanwilliam. From these mountains he set out for Namaqualand and the Kamiesberg, travelling as far as the Orange River valley before he returned to the Cape. Among the rare plants collected on this expedition was the strange parasitic plant Hydnora Africana, Thbg. ('bobbejaankos', 'jakkalskos', 'kannip'), which had not been collected since C. P. Thunberg's time and died on 13 December 1858. 1829 - I Archer, D.CBR [December] 16, 1829. On a flat stone outside the cave we find John Archer born abt. 1794 in Leicestershire, England. Arrived in South Africa in 1820 and was married to Jane Hart from Longford, Ireland. He died at Keerom in Namaqualand on 7th November 1835 aged 37 years, 7 weeks and 12 days.

1830 - C. F. Drege. This botanist also visited on 25th July, as his unpublished autograph diary describes. He did not engrave his name if, indeed, he saw the cave, he does not mention it. ' That night [24th July] I slept at Jan Van Zyl's and early in the morning a [native] boy came to fetch Baas Jan and his wife to her sick sister, the wife of Gert; she is suffering from phthisis. Jan van Zyl's servant bought two spans of young oxen. Twice they got stuck in the deep sand. We travelled as far as the Heerenlogement, which is a cattle post. We travelled on with them our oxen until close to the koppie belonging to the Knakabergen, and we stationed ourselves close to Piet Van Aarde's catte post in a cave'

1834 - E. Cook. Rev. Edward Boyer Cook, Wesleyan Missionary. Born 4th November 1811 in Long Wharton, Leicestershire and he died near the Orange River on 09 March 1843. He volunteered for service in the Great Namaqualand north of the Orange River. In 1834 he married Mary Frances, daughter of Charles and Dorothy Thornhill. There were five children and one born posthumously after his death. He died on 9th March 1843 near the Orange River.

1834 - D. Callaghan - Daniel born 1818 2nd eldest son of Irish Settler Kady Callaghan

1834 - L. M. Greef

1834 - B. O. [?]

1836 - J.E.A. Captain James Edward Alexander, explorer. In August he set off from Cape Town with a party of 7 men, which were bound to him for a year, and the highest wages were 3 l each per month with food and clothes. These men were: Charles Taylor, an Englishman, in charge of the stores, and skilled in preserving objects of natural history. Robert Repp, and Englishman, in charge of the cattle. John Elliot, an Irishman, private 27th Enniskillen Regiment, in charge of the arms. Antonio J. Perreira, his Portuguese servant. Magassee, a Bengalsee, who had lived 18 years with the Caffers. Hendrick, the wagon driver, a powerful young man of mixed South African race, or a 'Bastaard,' as he local term is and Wilhelm, the wagon leader, also a stout Bastaard. Also Metjie, the only female, entreated to be allowed to accompany him to the limits of the colony, which she was allowed to do. She provided being a useful cook and washerwoman.

After leaving the Royal Observatory James was honourbly escorted for some miles by Sir John Herschel, Major Mitchell, K.H., the Surveyor General, which eventually became his father in law, Dr. Murray, principal medical officer, Mr. Maclear, astronomer, Mr. George Thompson, the South African traveller and Mr. J. Wingate, his school-fellow and esteemed friend. He met up with several 'boors' (sic) who had boasted about killing four elephants in one day and 4 hippopotami, just for fun.

The party arrived at the Heere-logement (Gentlemen's Lodging) where they found a pool of water, under a hill, some distance up which is a large and open cave or klip-huis. A small tree grew out of the fissure of the rock above which partly overshadowed the floor of the cave, whilst on the north side, is carved names of travellers and hunters from the year 1712. Apparently elephants have long since roamed here but a crude carved elephant is seen in the klip-huis at Heerenlogement.

1836 - J. Jackson. Rev. J. Jackson succeeded Richard Haddy as Wesleyan missionary at Leliefontein. He engraved his name on the first journey to the mission field.

1837 - I. T. Cook. Rev E.J. Cook see entry for 1834.

1839 - Adam Lamerd

1839 J. Tindall. Rev. Joseph Tindall was born at Gringley-on-the-Hill in Nottinghamshire, England on 15th June 1807. He arrived in South Africa in 1836 and was employed by the Wesleyan Missionary Society. He was the son of Anglican parents. He died in Robertson on 8th April 1830 and was married to Sarah Goodyer Cooper. He started teaching and preaching on the Grand Parade, but his services were met with violent opposition. He also translated the gospel of St. Matthew into Hottentot. He worked as an assistant with Rev. E.J. Cook at Bondelswart, Nisbett Bath (Warmbad) 50 miles north of the River.

1840. [?] F. M. Luyt 12.3.1840.

1840 - James Backhouse. He too was a Wesleyan Missionary and was on his return visit from 'Lily Fountain' This is another traveller who gave a detailed description of the area in his dairy but never inscribed his name on the cave wall.

1842 - J. Foster - James Foster born in Clanwilliam 10 May 1813 and died 19 March 1870. He was the eldest son of John and Mary Kent 1820 Settlers to Clanwilliam. He died in Clanwilliam. He was married to Olivia Shawe who was the granddaughter of Samuel Edward Shawe and Ann Daniel, who were in Parkers Party of Irish Settlers to Clanwilliam.

1843 - F. M. Luyt 25.3.1843

1843 - J. Morris

1843 - A. V. Schlicht - Hugo Wilhelm Albert von Schilcht born in Germany 27 February 1817, chemist and mine manager at Concordia in Namaqualand.

1843 - B. Ridsdale [13 December] - Benjamin Ridsdale was also a Wesleyan Missionary who also left an amusing account of his visit whilst he and his wife were travelling north with Rev. H. Tindall. A Mr. Richard Haddy and his family were following them, en route to Nisbett Bath. Haddy did not inscribe his name of this occasion.

1845 - A . Searle

1845 - [?] Olding

1845 - P.C. v. Ellewee, 18 January - Pieter Cilliers Van Ellewee born 23 February 1819 married Petronella Johanna Jordaan.

1846 - F.C. Bain - incorrectly transposed - Andrew Geddes Bain. Born in Thurso, Scotland in May 1797 and died 20 October 1864 in Cape Town. He was a Road builder, geologist, explorer, trader, soldier, writer and artist.

1846 - J. Foster - see entry for 1842

1846 - J. Gibbs

1846 - W. Smith

1847 - Fannin - Thomas Fannin Cornish Immigrant. 1839, it was decided to form a new congregation in Namaqualand at Springbokfontein. The year before, Capt. James Alexander (later Sir James) published an account of his travels and his book, which had much to say about Namaqualand's copper, aroused a great deal of interest. Although Alexander seems to have known about the rich copper to be found near Springbokfontein, he was more enthusiastic about mining his own discoveries, situated further to the north in that bleak waterless region, the Richtersveld. This was due to the fact that these deposits lay close to the river and he imagined that it would be possible to build rafts from the trees growing on the banks. The ore could then be loaded onto these rafts and simply floated down to the river mouth. From there ships would be able to take the ore to a smelter. In those days there wasn't one in South Africa. Alexander said that the copper near Sprinbokfontein would be too costly to work because of the near impossibility of transporting it out. The river scheme on the other hand had extra advantages; the rafts too could be shipped to Cape Town where they could be sold as firewood. His plan did a lot to re-awaken interest in the copper deposits of Namaqualand. An attempt was made to form a company but when it was learnt that the company intended to combine missionary work along with its mining activities, enthusiasm waned and the idea was dropped for lack of support. However, rumours began filtering back to C ape Town that there were others (Frenchmen) exploring the area and so patriotic sentiment was aroused. Early in the 1840's a group of Cape Town merchants was stirred into sending their own man into the copper region and they chose Thomas Fannin, who was appointed Mine Manager. Setting off by ox wagon, he took with him two Welsh miners and a cartload of gunpowder for blasting. The two miners soon decamped, leaving Fannin alone in the wilderness with his two sons to help him carry on mining. His first testing of some ore was indeed rewarding for it proved to be between fifty and seventy percent pure copper. In the summer of 1846, a time of unbearable heat in the Richtersveld, Fannin made his way down the river in order to inspect the route that it was envisaged the copper ore would take. Having done so, he felt that he could never again endure such intense heat, thirst and hunger and this caused Fannin to send optimistic reports to shareholders' meetings in Cape Town. This drew a public response from one J. B. Harrison. In his book, 'A History of Copper Mining in Namaqualand', John M. Smalberger states Harrison's message to the public to refrain from investing in the area is based on a report made to him in 1846 by Capt. John Davies, a mining agent from Cornwall. Davies, while noting in his report that copper existed goes on to say I do not think that 10 tons of copper could be obtained'. Fannin grew increasingly disenchanted with the prospects of ever getting the ore out. Eventually, he lost all interest and, having sold his share in the venture, left for Natal. Thomas was also the grandfather of Dr. Austin Roberts of the Transvaal Museum in Pretoria.

1847 - J. J. Turpin 29th July - born at St. Andrews, Scotland on 21st January 1789 and died on 21 May 1852

1848 - H. V.Sittart

1848 - R. Haddy - Reverend Richard Haddy. Born in England circa. 1796 and died in London, Eng., 1871, came to South Africa in 1824. Neither his parentage nor the exact date of his birth, nor any fact in connection with his marriage, could be ascertained. His first field of activity was Leliefontein, near the Kamiesberg in Namaqualand (1825-26). Here Barnabas Shaw baptized his son of his

1849 - L. Leygonie. In SA Genealogies there is an entry for: a Jean F. Leygonie, which suggests that the L. may have been mistranscribed as a J as his second name was Ferdinand. He came fro Granye in France and was born 24 June 1828 and is said to have arrived in 1851. The date of his arrival could be incorrect.

1849 - J. P. Philip - This name and the above name of Leygonie occur together and are preceded by 'Vive L.F.' and connect by 'et' It would suggest that the former stand for 'Vive la France'

1850 - J. Young

1850 - J. Gray - One of the few possibilities of who this person might have been could be the Rev Robert Gray. Who was the Anglican Bishop of the Colony and Clanwilliam fell into his jurisdiction.

1850 - C. Taylor

1850 - W. B. T [ur] pin

1851 - H. Lea (Lt.), December [?]

1853 - [?] - G. Prince

1853 - H. Spencer

1853 - W.F.J. Baron Von Ludwig. Wilhelm Franz Jacob born 1816 and died at Wynberg on 16 December 1869. He was married to Brieta Carolina Reynolds. Von Ludwig was the eldest son of Baron Carl Ferdinand Heinrich von Ludwig a Dutch Baron. He was a chemist and well-known botanist. As a father Carl was over indulgent with hi children and this provided immense problems with his relationship with them, particularly Wilhelm who he eventually disinherited to the extent that the law permitted.

1854 - J. L. Sharp 17th July - John Lawrence Sharp born in Birmingham, Warwickshire on the 12th February 1802 and died in the Cape on 8th June 1868. He married in St. Johns Church in Clanwilliam on 13th August 1837 to Ann Clark/e widow of Robert Cowsert an 1820 Settler to Clanwilliam.

1854 - R. N. Arling

1854 - A.G. Bain. Andrew Geddes Bain. His name is painted in white and not engraved.

1854 J. Calvert C.E. - his name plus the next two entries are painted in red with a red triangle.

1854 - J. Lycott

1854 - J. Southgate

1854 - T. Watson. Thomas Watson born in the Cape in 1814 and died in London, England 22 February 1884. He was the son of wine merchant Harrison Watson and Marjorie Tennant. He was a mineral prospector in the Namaqualand. His daughter Emily Theodora Tennant Watson married the well-known botanist DR. H.W. Bolus.

1859. L. Beck

1861 - Mrs. Fryer, 23rd February

1861 - A. Fryer

1861 - E. Fryer - Emily Francis Fryer from Clanwilliam married Henry Francis Burton

1861 - M. Fryer - Mary Fryer from Clanwilliam sister of Emily married J.A. Louw

1861 - A. Borcherds - Hester Margaretha Fryer born 18th February 1829 married James Henry Borcherds - this is possibly the same person.

1861 - M. Kekewich - Maria Magdalena Kekewich born 26 January 1846 in Clanwilliam

1867 - P. J. A. de Villiers. Pieter Jan Albertus De Villiers. Born 28th May 1824 died at the Heerenlogement 31 July 1898. Married first Jacomina Hendrina De Beer on 29 July 1853 and remarried again on 29 July 1859 to Elizabeth Catharina Van Zyl who was born in Piketberg 5th November 1841.

1868 - T. D. De Villiers

1868 - H. L. Spindler - this entry and the following three were inscribed at the same time. Henry Lewis Spindler born in Edinburgh Scotland in 1845. He was a civil engineer who came to South Africa to build bridges and railway line. He was the son of William Spindler and Joanna Hope. He married Martha Van Wyk - see her entry two down.

1868 - W.A Spindler. William Anderson Spindler, brother of H.L. was born in Edinburgh, Scotland 1846. He was a Clerk with the railways. His daughter Jane Elizabeth Hope married Michael John Lyne born in Clanwilliam 1868.

1868 - M. v. W. Martha Ann Van Wyk born at Rondegat, Clanwilliam 22 April 1843. She was the daughter of Albert Erasmus Van Wyk and Mary Anne Foster. She married Henry Lewis Spindler.

1868 - S. R. J.

1869 - A. Turner, April - this entry and the following two were also inscribed at the same time.

1869 - C. A. von….

1869 - A. N. von …..

1870 - L. Marquard, 23 November. Leopold Marquard born 08th May 1826 in Clanwilliam and married in Cape Town on 21 June 1850 to Susanna De Villiers from Swellendam. He remarried again on 16 February 1862 to Dorothea Susanna Faure. He was the editor of De Onderzoeker. Susanna's brother Bernardus Josephus van der Sandt De Villiers married her husband's sister Johanna Albertina Leopoldina Marquard.

1871 - J. L. Burk. Joseph Burke born in Bristol, England on 12th June 1812 and died on 23rd January 1873 in Harrisonville, Missouri, U.S.A He was a naturalist and traveller and a collector of animals and plants. He went on several expeditions with Zeyher.

1872 - L. Marquard 29th November - see entry for 1870.

1874 - J. B.C. Knobel - Johann Balthasar Christian Knobel born 14th January 1850 died 27th October 1908. He was a teacher and later Missionary at Ebenezer Church. His aunt Catharina Wilhelmina was the grandmother of Louis Liepoldt.

1876 - A. Farquhar, 5th March - this entry and the Bay were entered at the same time. Alexander Farquhar born circa 1812 and died in Clanwilliam 13 November 1846. …. FIND MORE

1876 - L. Bay [?]

1876 - J. C. de Villiers, 17th June

1876 - [?] A Dittmer

1877 - Dr. Fisk

1879 - J. P. v. Ellewee, 1st February

1881 - Jr. P. J. A. de Villiers

1881 - B. D. Bouwer

1882 - L. J. Colyn [?] 25th [February] - this entry and the following three were all here at the same time. Probably Lambertus Johannes born 04 February 1832 in Wynberg.

1882 - Mrs. A. De Villiers, 25th February

1882 W. J. de Villiers d.t. 25th [February] The farmer living at the Heerenlogement itself.

1882 - A. L. Marais, 25th February

1889 - [?] P. Fleischer

1892 - C. Foster, 12th July

J.W. Maars [?] written in yellow paint

1894 - J. W. Smit, 5th August

1895 - F. G. Coetzee

1901 - J. M. Bennie [September]

1901 - E. Jansen

1902 - M. Brink

1902 - P. S. Krige

1905 - A. Albrecht

1905 - [no name] … 30th [?]

1907 - F. A. De Villiers

1911 - Sarie [?] Niewoudt, 8th July

1911 - H. E. Smit

1911 - H. H. W. Pearson - Henry Harold Welch Pearson born in Lincolnshire, England on 28th January 1870 and died in Wynberg on 03 November 1916. He was a botanist and professor. He went on two expeditions to Bushmanland and S.W.A. He was a botanical explorer of the finest type, observant, interested in both people and things.

1913 - P. J. A, Smit, 30th April

1915 - C. Engelbrecht

1915 - R. Osborn - engraved the same day as C. Engelbrecht.

1921 - P. J. A. De Villiers

1921 - G. Engelbrecht

1921 - J. H. Smit

1922 - F.A. de Villiers

1927 - E. Mossop, September. He did not engrave his name but photographed a portion of the cave.

1931 [?] - G. Smit


Bloos, [?]
Bruyn, H.E
Busche, L.D
Coutet, I. O
De Pas, XX
Spence, A
De Villiers,
De Villiers, C.
Dieningen, C.G.
Engelbrecht, I.V.
Engelbrecht, Christian
Sypie - 13th July but no year given
Frens, [?]
Gadd, C
Janning, M
Lockhart, I
Mans, T
Malan, G. J.
Neethling, J
Nicholson, I.A
Nicholson, J.
Phil, R.G.
Quin, S.H.
Ryneveld, W.R.
Smit. W
Miemie geboren 18 ….. 1911
Turn, A.
Van der Merwe, M. geb 22 June 1918
Van Zyl, [?]
Van Zyl, B.
Van Zyl, D.
Vermeulen, J. N geb 1909
Weber, P.
Wilson, G.
Wolfaardt, E. H. P. - Field Cornet at the mouth of the Olifants River 1822-1823 and was Heemraad at Clanwilliam 1827.


D. de W.
Ann - on flat stone outside Betty - on flat stone outside


Kirby, P, 1942. 'The Heerenlogement and its visitors; the story of one of South Africa's 'Historical Monuments'' in the South African Journal of Science, Vol. XXXVIII, pp. 352 - 386 January 1942.

Alexander, J. E. An expedition of discovery into the interior of Africa, through the hitherto undescribed countries of the Great Namaqua, Boschmans, and Hill Damaras. Colburn, London, 1838

Pearson, H.H.W. "Percy Sladen Memorial Expedition in South-west Africa, 1908-1909". In Nature 81, 499-500, 1909

Dickason, G.B. Cornish Immigrants to South Africa, AA Balkema, Cape Town, 1978

New Dictionary of South African Biographies Volumes 1 -5, HSRC Press, 1995

South African Genealogies, compiled by J.A. Heese, edited by R.T.J. Lombard, Genealogical Institute of South Africa, 1986 - 2008

Forbes, V.S. Pioneer Travellers of South Africa 1750 - 1800, AA Balkema, Cape Town, 1965

(1) A translator's error: In the French edition the cave is correctly described as opening towards the west.