A taste of village life
Stanford is a small charming village mid-way between the seaside towns of Hermanus and Gansbaai on the Cape Whale Coast. It lies nestled in the picturesque valley alongside the Klein River, about 90 minutes from Cape Town.
Stanford is ideally located for a perfect, laid-back getaway in a quaint and historic village which remains true to its roots. Stanford which was established as a farming community features an assortment of charming renovated cottages and Cape Victorian and Edwardian architecture and is regarded as one of South Africa's best-preserved villages. Its heritage status is protected both by law and by an enthusiastic and dedicated conservation trust.
The town has been identified as the third most historically important town in the Western Cape. The original farmhouse of De Kleine Riviers Valey (original spelling), built in 1785, is one of the oldest houses still in existence in the Cape Overberg and the beautiful stone Church is thought to have been built in the 1700’s as well.
Stanford is an eclectic mix of antique stores, galleries, coffee shops and restaurants and offers an impressive list of activities for a small village. The surrounding valleys feature numerous vineyards, award-winning cheeses from the Klein River Cheese Factory, which sells delectable Leiden and Gruyere cheeses. and a micro-brewery where they have many unique blends of beer on tap.
Must do’s when visiting are the Klein River Walking Trail, the unique micro-brewery and the towns historic walk – guided tours can be pre-booked, or a map can be purchased at the tourism office.
Stanford accommodation includes cosy B&B’s within the town as well as self-catering cottages on nearby farms and wine estates.
Things to do and see
- Die Plaat Beach
- Klein River Walking Trail
- Klein River Cruises
- Mosaic Sanctuary Kayaking & Quad Bike Tours
- Overberg Fynbos Route
- Salmonsdam Nature Reserve, 20 km
- Stanford Historical Walk
- Birkenhead Brewery
- Standford Trading Store
- Standford Saturday Morning Market
- Stadford Evening Market
Stanford receives approximately 512 mm of rain annually with most of its annual rainfall during winter.
Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 13˚C and 26˚C.
Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 8˚C and 20˚C.
Stanford was founded in 1857 and named after Robert Stanford who owned the original farm on which the village was founded.
Born in 1806 in the town of Ballina in the county Mayo, Captain Robert Stanford served in the British army. At the age of 32 he resigned his commission and retired on half-pay, after which the Captain and his wife immigrated to the Cape Colony.
He purchased the farm Kleine Riviers Vallei, where the present day Stanford village is located, as well as several other farms and soon turned the farms into a thriving enterprise. He also opted not to transport his produce via ox wagon over the mountains, but instead purchased a small ship which sailed to Cape Town from a small cove not 20 km from his farm.
Unfortunately after the Irish rebellion, unforeseen circumstance and duty-bound to comply with British Governors request to send provisions to the “convict” ship Neptune which was kept out at sea for five months, was seen as treason by the locals and Stanford and his family were totally ostracized. This led to his children being explelled from school, the servant leaving the farms, hiss loss of income and even the death of one of his daughters.
His Kleine Riviers Farm was sold to Phillipus de&nb Bruyn for a pittance and he returned to England, where he was knighted for his service, but where he passed away at age 70 years.
On 30 September 1857 De Bruyn sold the first plot of the new village of Stanford.
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