- Western Cape
Historic Mission Village
This beautifully situated village, sheltered by giant oaks, was formerly known as Zuurbraak and lies at the foot of the Langeberg Mountains, on the southern end of the Tradouw Pass.
The mountains are rich in fynbos and bird life and cattle paths act as mountain trails for hikers, mountain bikers, and bird-watchers alike.
The isolation of Suurbraak is one of its charms but this sheer lack of opportunity has forced the youth to seek employment elsewhere and has limited the financial resources of the people, both young and old. Many still cook on wood stoves and the people live close to the land using farming methods that belong to the past. The smaller farms are still ploughed using horse drawn ploughs. Agricultural work is often done manually with most households owning at least one cow and a few donkeys or horses. Donkey and horse-drawn carts are often seen in the streets.
Mat making, hide curing and blacksmithing have all sadly died out, as has candle and soap making. Furniture making, however, and in particular chairs and the traditional methods of bodging, has remained. Garden furniture and crafts are also fashioned from alien vegetation.
Guided village and mountain walking tours are offered, while horse riding and cart rides remind the visitor that time has stood still at Suurbraak. There are basic braai facilities alongside the river with spectacular pools.
Zuurbraak meaning ‘sour brake’, got its name from the thick racket ferns that still grow abundantly in the wetland area.
Zuurbraak was established as a mission station in 1812 by the London Mission Society and later in 1875 was taken over by the ‘Algemene Sending Kerk’. The original church, parsonage and school date back to 1828 and the cluster of cottages, which line either side of the road were constructed in 1883.
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