Long Street Historic Walk in Riversdale, Western Cape
Riversdale is a small country town steeped in history and taking the Long Street, the oldest street in the sleepy town, tells a story of Riversdale and its’ original residents.
The Route & History
Julius Gordon Africana Centre
Start at the internationally recognised art centre, the Julius Gordon Africana Centre. Spend some time in this lovely old house originally owned by the Versfeld family and now filled with antiques, artefacts and incredible paintings. It also holds many fascinating historical facts about Riversdale so is an ideal way to begin your walk.
From the Museum, walk up Long Street towards Main/Heidelberg Road, here on the right-hand corner you will find the Ou Tronk. The building has been renovated into the towns’ “new meeting place”. The once ghoulish gallows and cells now holds an eclectic mix of jewellery, clothing, fine china, crafts and many other goodies on sale. The Ou Tronk is also a wonderful spot to enjoy a coffee and cake break!
As you exit the Ou Tronk, walk back to Long Street and turn right. On your left you will find the Royal Hotel, built originally as a single story family home and later converted into a Hotel and then written about in a song by David Kramer! As you approach Robertson Street, look to your left, straight ahead about two blocks up is the NG Kerk with its steeple which dominates the Riversdale skyline. It is possible to include a visit on your walk, call ahead and make an appointment and view the beautiful organ imported from Scotland.
Continuing along Long Street you will find No 15, a Victorian house built at the turn of the 19th century, an Edwardian house at No 11 and No 9 which was used as a boarding house in the 1920’s and 30’s. Opposite No 11 is the Dutch Reformed Church Hall which was built in 1906 and alongside it is the Old Masonic Hall built towards the end of the 19th century. Lodge Frefe was the 13th Masonic Lodge established in South Africa. he masonic symbols can still be seen at the peak of the gable. It is currently part ot the Hotel.
Number 8 and number 6 form part of the Boutique Hotel, number 8 was the homestead of the original farm and was built between 1746 and 1770. The gracious Victorian house at 3 Long Street was built in 1880 and is currently the Sleeping Beauty Gusthouse, the present owners have established a labyrinth planted with indigenous flora which may be viewed by arrangement.
Number 2 was where CJ Langenhoven finished his schooling, matriculating in 1892. Now known as Langenhoven Huis it has been divided up into apartments and the elegant Cape longhouse house at No 1 was built by JH de Villiers in 1859. CJ Langenhoven boarded here for two years while completing his schooling across the road at the Hoerjongensskool.
To end off your walk, continue down Long Street to Cats Paws Pottery Studio or further up Langenhoven Street to Paddavlei Kunsgoete for a bit or retail therapy and more coffee and a light meal!
Things to do and see
- Julius Gordon African Centre
- The Ou Tronk
- The Royal Hotel
- NG Kerk (Dutch Reformed Church)
- Historic Edwardian Homes
- NG Church Hall
- Masonic Hall
- De Doornkraal Boutique Hotel
- Sleeping Beauty Guest House
- Langenhoven House
- Cape Longhouse House
- Cats Paws Pottery Studio
- Paddavlei Kunsgoete
Free self-guided walking route. A map of Riversdale can be obtained from the Tourism Office or no doubt will be available at your accommodation
Only during daylight hours
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