- Eastern Cape
Klipplaat is a small Karoo town on the outskirts of Jansenville and about at an hours’ drive south of Graaff-Reniet. Back in the day, Klipplaat was a major railway junction transporting local mohair and wool from the surrounding farms to Cape Town and Port Elizabeth.
A small claim to fame for this little town is that it can actually boast that the Queen once came to town! Klipplaat was part of the Royal Family's grand railroad tour of South Africa in 1947.
Once the railway and its passenger service to Klipplaat disappeared, all the small town could really offer its visitors was a rusty old locomotive and a few well-preserved Victorian buildings first built in 1990’s. Despite the lack of economic activity and the state of dereliction, Klipplaat is not without interest. If you visit the Harwood Farm, a few kilometres outside of town, it has in the yard two small curiosities. The first rondavel is in fact a magistracy and the second, behind it, looking like a small round pillbox is a lock-up. In days past, if stock thieves were caught, they were confined in the lockup until the magistrate, on his travels round the district, arrived and held a trial.
Visitors can also visit a few of the towns’ old churches and the police station, still function, is a quaint relic and once housed the local detachment of the Cape Mounted Police.
Klipplaat has one old country style Hotel, the Hotel Charles and a few Guest farms can be found in the surrounding towns.
Things to do and see
- Bruintjieshoogte Pass
- Klipplaat Anglican Church
- Wesleyan Methodist Church
- Klipplaat Police Station
- Klipplaat Cemetery Memorial
- Hardwood Farm
- The Mohair Experience Museum, Jansenville
- Sid Fourie Historical House Museum, Jansenville
Klipplaat receives approximately 289 mm of rain annually with little rainfall throughout the year.
Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 14˚C and 30˚C.
Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 4˚C and 21˚C.
Charles Lee was the first person to recognise the opportunity of a trading store on the road near the important railway junction between Port Elizabeth and Graaff-Reinet; including a link to Oudtshoorn via Willowmore. This eventually developed into a small community that he named Leetown, which was the present Scheeper Street, with a number of stores, accommodation, and churches.
The first train to arrive at Klipplaat Station was on 3 February 1879. The construction of the railway line from Port Elizabeth commenced on 9 January 1872 - with completion to Graaff-Reinet on 26 August 1879.
The first 50 plots of land were measured and sold in 1906, leaving other available land for a Police Station, Post Office, and Churches. In 1939 there were only 57 railway personnel in Klipplaat, which increased to 133 by 1952.
Farming and the railways were the two most important functions of the continual existence of Klipplaat. Without these it would have disappeared much earlier as Waterford has. Unfortunately, the demise of the railways over the past two decades has brought an end to the passenger service to the town and the station has fallen to disrepair.
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