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Port Wine Capital of SA
Calitzdorp lies nestled between the Outeniqua, Swartberg and Rooiberg mountains, ideally situated only four hours from Cape Town and almost exactly halfway to Port Elizabeth, on the scenic and famous Route 62. This makes this little Klein Karoo town the perfect stop over en route to the Garden Route.
Apart from its bona fide Klein Karoo character, Calitzdorp is probably most well recognized for its production of some of the country’s best port wines and has such rightfully gained the “Port Wine Capital of South Africa” accolade from the consistent production of prize winning champion Port wines.
Calitzdorp is a village which is worth more than just a glance, Queen Street is one of the oldest streets in the town which deserves a stroll down to properly absorb the old Edwardian, Victorian and Karoo style buildings. It is a village of architectural treasures and more sights than one could absorb in a single visit.
The valley also offers outdoor activities including walking and 4X4 trails, horse riding and birdwatching and is within a hour or two’s drive from all major tourist attractions in the region, including the world famous Cango Caves.
There is a selection of accommodation to suit every pocket which ranges from five star guest houses and B&B’s to self-catering and camping. Don’t just overnight, you’ll need a few days to experience it all!
Things to do and see
- Calitzdorp Museum
- Calitzdorp Dutch Reformed Church & Hall
- St Mark’s Anglican Church
- Bosluiskloof Pass
- Huisrivier Pass
- Roiiberg Pass
- Towerkop Nature Reserve
- Calitzdorp Hot Springs & Spa
- The Donkey Trail
- Bojaankop 4X4 Trail
- Gamkaberg Zebra Crossing 4X4 Trails
- Axe Hill Wines
- Calitzdorp Wine Cellar
- Withoek Wine Farm
- Boplaas Wine Farm
- De Krans Wine Cellar
- Du’ Swaroo Wines
- Peter Bayly Wines
Calitzdorp receives approximately 137 mm of rain annually with rainfall all year round.
Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 16˚C and 33˚C.
Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 5˚C and 19˚C.
There are daily flights into George Airport approximately 116 Km’s away along the R62. Car hire facilities are available at the Airport.
Evidence of early San and Khoi settlements are evident in numerous rock paintings found in the surrounding mountains.
Jacobus Pretorius was the earliest known settler in the Calitzdorp area. He settled on the farm he called Buffelsvlei in 1757. Buffel in Afrikaans means Buffalo and vlei means wetland – the name reflected the large number of Buffalo in the valley and the wetlands and rivers which made the valley such a rich agricultural area.
In 1821, the land was granted to JJ and MC Calitz and the town Calitzdorp was first founded and named after the family. In 1853, the Calitz's donated land for a church and school to be built, as Oudtshoorn proved to be too far to travel for their monthly "Nagmaal". The completion of the Dutch Reformed Church and establishment of the school brought about the rapid development of the town.
By 1910 the population had reached 4000 and both a larger Church and School building were needed and both buildings were completed by 1912 along with the old Standard Bank building which presently houses the Museum.
After electrification in 1937, the next biggest development was the concrete road between Oudtshoorn and Calitzdorp. Although this was not the first concrete road in South Africa as has often been claimed, it appears to have been the longest in the country at this time.
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