Lying at the foot of the majestic Cederberg Mountain range is the small village of Clanwilliam. A mere two hour drive from Cape Town, Clanwilliam has lots to offer tourists in particular the amazing colourful flowers during the West Coast’s “Flower Season”.
Visitors to this picturesque town can partake in in a range of water sports on the 18 km Clanwilliam Dam and nature enthusiasts can marvel at the 200 odd indigenous species of wild flowers in full bloom around August/September each year. The area also offers tourists the opportunity to hike, mountain bike or drive the many scenic passes.
Clanwilliam is one of the ten oldest town is South Africa and is regarded as the only town in the world where rooibos is planted and cultivated so a tour of the Rooibos Factory is a must! The town is also famous for its locally made veldskoens (leather shoes) and shoes of all colours and sizes can be bought from the Strassberger Factory. The tourism office has a historical walk through the town which includes several national monuments, the original farmhouse of Jan Dissels and the old jailhouse which is now the Museum.
Clanwilliam accommodation includes a beautiful Hotel, self-catering cottages and B&B’s to suit all tastes and budgets.
The area receives most of its rainfall between June and August and enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate most of the year.
Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 15˚C and 27˚C.
Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 7˚C and 17˚C.
The Cederberg area had been populated for over 20 000 years by nomadic San people with the first white farmers only first settling in the area in 1726. Jan Dissels started one of the first farms here, building a homestead close to the wagon route from Table Bay. The exact spot was first referred to as “Aan de Renoster Hoek” which literally translated to “By the Rhinoceros Corner” which gave evidence of the wildlife that once roamed here. Later the town was named after Jan Dissels and was known as Disselsvalleij.
The hot and arid farming conditions dissuaded families from settling here and the first British settlers were in fact brought here by the British government in 1808 to stabilize the border and create a buffer form tribal incursions and the problem of cattle rustling by the Khoi people. Only six families actually stayed however, by 1814 the town had sixteen resident families and was renamed by Sir John Craddock, the Governor of the Cape at the time. He named the town in honour of his father-in-law, the Earl of Clanwilliam and despite now being a strong Afrikaner region, the name has stuck.
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