Ladismith is situated at the heart of popular tourist Route 62 and is not to be confused with the Natalian town of Ladysmith. The small town, 300 km from Cape Town, is set at the foot of the Swartberg Mountains with the majestic Towerkop, 2 203 metres high, overlooking the town.
Although Towerkop is not the highest mountain in the Karoo, its unusual split peak can be seen for hundreds of Kilometres. Legend has it that a witch was flying into the town and the mountains got in her way. This angered the witch and she flew into the mountains with such force that she broke through the peak. This caused the single main peak to be broken off forming two peaks. Whatever the case may be it makes for a great story and sets a beautiful mountain scene.
Towerkop is just one of the peaks that make this area a hiker’s delight, if you are fit you can try attempt the split peak trail or the Elandsberg hiking trail, a 12 km route to Stanley’s Light, which offers another delightful story/myth of Ladismith.
It is also highly recommended that visitors take a day trip through the Hoeko Valley where in the spring and autumn you experience breath-taking views of the orchards.
Despite the small town of Ladismith lying in the shadow of its more illustrious neighbours, fashionable Barrydale to the west and the port wine capital of Calitzdorp to the east, she is not merely a destination for nature lovers and hikers. If you are interested in architecture and buildings, then you may wish to visit some of the several buildings here that have been declared National Monuments. Some of particular interest includes The Mission School, Ye Old Cottage, the Royal Hotel and the Volstruis Paleis (Ostrich Palace) built around 1903.
Ladismith has several B&B establishments, Guesthouses and self-catering units to choose from.
Things to do and see
- Stanley’s Light
- Ladismith Cellars
- Hillock Wines
- Buffelspoort MTB Trail
- Aardvark Nature Reserve
- Towerkop Nature Reserve
- Seweweekspoort Pass
- Garcia’s Pass
- Otto Hagar Church
- Parmalat Cheese Factory
Ladismith receives approximately 284 mm of rain annually with little rainfall occurring throughout the year.
Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 11˚C and 28˚C.
Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 2˚C and 21˚C.
There are daily flights into George Airport, 161 km to the East along the R62. Car hire facilities are available at the Airport.
The town got its name in the 1800’s from the 14 year old Spanish child bride of Governor Sir Henry George Wakelyn Smith. Lady Juana Smith was one of the great beauties of Southern Africa. Two towns were named after her, and to distinguish between them the one in KwaZulu-Natal is spelt Ladysmith, while the one in the little Karoo of the Western Cape is spelt Ladismith.
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