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Calitzdorp municipality had its own Coat-of-Arms which was registered to it in perpetuity. Calitzdorp Municipality no longer exists but legally no one else may use the Arms.
When electricity was installed in Calitzdorp in 1937, it was the smallest electricity supply setup in the country, the least costly installation and Calitzdorp’s supply price was the cheapest per unit in South Africa.
When built between 1943 -1954, the concrete road from Calitzdorp to Oudtshoorn - known locally as the \'sementpad\' - was the longest concrete road in South Africa. It was NOT the country\'s first concrete road, as is frequently claimed.
The last ever steam train on the Oudtshoorn-Calitzdorp line was a special Union Line day trip for steam train enthusiasts on 13 August 1997, four years after the official closing of the line. The loco was a class 19D No 2753
The Little Karoo was once an inland sea of approximately 14,500 square kilometers. It would have been a quarter the size of Lake Victoria, half the size of lake Malawi, 24 times the size of the Dead Sea and 87 times the size of the Sea of Galilee!
Huge Fossil bones found in the Calitzdorp district were thought by Hoffman in 1966 to possibly be those of the Giant Plesiosaur – the same as Scotland’s Loch Ness Monster, ‘Nessie’. However they were later identified as those of the sauropod Algoasaurus related to the Brontosaurus.
In the 1800s and early 1900s there was a thriving Jewish community in the Little Karoo. Many of their shops had no doors for customers - who climbed in through the windows!
Calitzdorp has South Africa’s largest Pale Chanting Goshawk bird population – the only polyandrous raptor in South Africa.
The Calitzdorp Nel’s river dam was the first mass-concrete agricultural irrigation dam wall built in the country.
The dam was built in 1913-1918, before modern equipment was available, and work was done with picks and shovels. Donkeys and mules did the hauling. There was one 36 BHP suction gas engine which ran all the major plant.
The Nel’s river which flows through Groenfontein valley and fills Calitzdorp dam was previously known as the Kango river and is shown as such on the original subdivision map of the Buffelsvlei farm, dated April 1834.
The word Kango comes from the Khoisan language – The Khoisan called the Swartberg mountains the Kango and the word means ‘place rich in water’.
A Surveyor General’s Map dated 25 Jan 1847 shows that Daniel Nel owned large sections of the Kango river / valley farmland, Probably why the river became known as ‘Nel’s river’.
Cape leopards still roam freely in the mountains around Calitzdorp. Extremely shy, and ranging over enormous territories, these rare, beautiful animals are seldom seen.
Calitzdorp sits on a geological fault line that runs for 300 kilometers along the southern edge of the Cape Fold mountains – proof being our local hot spring at the Calitzdorp Spa.
In the 1850s the town of George was a 50 hour trek by ox-wagon from Calitzdorp! This time did not include overnight stops and time for the oxen to rest and graze.
After their discovery, the Cango caves were known as \'die Druipkelder’. and only became known as Cango Caves many years later.
When Electricity was first provided in Bergsig, each of the smaller houses had one connection to a street light, and electricity was only available at night when the street lights were switched on.
Lucerne – a major fodder crop around Calitzdorp, came to South Africa from South America in 1861. Its introduction into the Little Karoo dramatically changed the ostrich industry
There are 34 internationally recognised biodiversity Hotspots in the entire world - and Calitzdorp is surrounded by four.
The plant biomes – areas of a certain type of plant growth - are identified as World Hot Spots because of the unique - and threatened vegetation, found nowhere else in the world.
Each of the four World Hot Spots around Calitzdorp –fynbos, thicket, remnant forest and succulent Karoo – has at least 1500 endemic plant species – each Hot Spot biome having more plant variety than the whole of Europe
Calitzdorp’s first cemetery is said to have been in the area of “The Queen of Calitzdorp” Lodge - but maybe this old cemetery was under the \'spookhuis\' - giving reason for its name? Long demolished, the police station now stands where the \'spookhuis\' once was.
During the world-wide ‘flu epidemic of 1918, Calitzdorp was not spared and the beautiful double-storey home at 1 Queen street was used as a make-shift hospital for the duration of the epidemic
More than eleven thousand hand-cut stones were used to build the Dutch Reformed Church. The raw stone was transported by ox-wagon from Swartkop at Vlei Rivier and dressed on the building site.
Because of its enormous size, the Dutch Reformed Church vestry table (5,2m) had to be made on site.
On 22 February 1991 the imposing sandstone Dutch Reformed Church and its surrounding fence was declared a National monument - now known as a Provincial Heritage Site.
The cast-iron fencing, erected around the perimeter of the Dutch Reformed Church grounds in 1899, is eleven years older than the church itself.
The five massive Dutch Reformed Church bells - three huge and two slightly smaller ones, cost £425 and were cast in Germany. They were donated by J J Grundling and his wife in memory of their grandson Jacobus Johannes Grundling Meyer
The magnificent Dutch Reformed Church organ - considered the best in the country at the time and said to have then had 942 pipes, was imported from Hamburg, Germany.
The Huisrivier Pass underwent major upgrading in 2012 and 2013. To the astonishment of workers at a stop/go point on the construction site, a leopard crossed the road right in front of them - in broad daylight!
The very rare, unusual, yellow Protea - Mimetes chrysanthus – was discovered in the Gamkaberg Nature Reserve by game guard Mr Willie Julies in September 1987.
Calitzdorp is on Route 62 – the longest wine route in the world.
Voortrekker road – or Route 62 – was firstly known as Bloekomlaan (Bluegum avenue) due to the number of gum trees which lined the road.
A number of original little houses were demolished on Voortrekker Road and the bluegum street-trees were removed to widen the road when Route 62 was built.
The house which reputedly stood on the land where the police station and magistrates\' court now stand, was known as ‘die Spookhuis’. Could the reason be - that just maybe - this might have been the site of Calitzdorp\'s first unmarked, unidentified cemetery?
Axe Hill winery was named after stone-age hand tools, from some 250 thousand years ago, found on the property when the farm was being established by the late Tony Mossop and his wife Lyn.
It is rumoured that Cecil John Rhodes gave a speech to Calitzdorp residents from the steps of the beautiful residence at 1 Queen Street, but so far we have found no proof of him visiting the town.
Old timers have suggested that the beautiful home at 1 Queen street was ransacked or torched by Boer Commandant Gideon Scheepers and his men during the second Anglo-Boer War. We have found no proof - but we do know that Scheepers was active in the Calitzdorp area at the time.
In 1922 when Howard Carter opened Tutankhamen’s tomb in Egypt, one of the first things he found was a perfect, 3,000 year old, ivory-handled ostrich feather fan.
In 1918 there were outlying schools in Groenfontein, Buffelskloof, Buffelsjagsfontein, Gamka-Oos, Gamka-Wes, Huisrivier, Janfourieskraal, Kruisrivier-Wes, Uitvlug, Warmbad en Warmwater, along with the Juta and Reenen school.
Spekboom - Portulacaria afra - takes in and uses huge volumes of atmospheric carbon – part of the global warming problem – and converts it into oxygen. How great is that? Plant some and help save the world!
\'Kougoed\' - the Kanna plant, Sceletium tortuosum of the Mesembryanthemoideae family - is a local ancient herb with mood enhancing properties said to rival Prozac! – but it is non addictive and has no side effects.
In 1869 Arthur Douglass invented an ostrich incubator , causing a stir in the Little Karoo where farmers now started fencing their lands to farm ostriches more intensively
In 1872 Mr Burdett opened Calitzdorp’s first shop
On the 3rd of July 2015, UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation), at a meeting held in Bonn in Germany, approved the elevation of the existing Rooiberg, Gamkaberg and Groenefontein Protected Areas, to the status of World Heritage Sites
Each return journey of the steam train between Oudtshoorn and Calitzdorp, burned up four tons of coal!
The first regular train from Oudtshoorn ran into Calitzdorp on Friday 14th November 1924 and the official opening took place a few days later on the 20th November.
Seweweekspoort peak at 2,352m is not only the highest peak in the Klein Swartberg range, it is also the highest in the Western Cape. Classified as an ultra prominent peak it is also the 8th highest peak in South Africa.
Endemic to Seweweekspoort, the first specimens of an unknown, rare Protea were collected by botanists T P Stoekoe and R Primos in 1928. Later thought to be extinct – this Protea Aristata was ‘re-discovered’ in 1953.
The survey for the new Huisrivier Pass was started in 1951. It took almost ten years to find a suitable route over the difficult, treacherous mountains to Ladismith, before construction of the Pass could start.
Seweweekspoort’s rare endemic red Aristata protea was proudly displayed on the 10 cent postage stamp of the South African 1977 Protea Series.
Calitzdorp became the Port capital of South Africa by accident. Years ago, Shiraz vines ordered and planted by the Nel family of de Krans, later turned out to be Touriga Nacional – the main port grape! What a happy mistake!
On 25 December, 2015 there was a full moon. Younger than 38 years old at the time? Then this would have been your first Christmas full moon. The last one was in 1977 and the next one will only be on 25 December 2034!
Everyone knows South Africa’s symbols – the flower symbol is the King Protea, the animal is the springbok, the tree is the Real Yellowwood and the bird is the Blue Crane. But did you know that we have a national fish? Believe it or not, we do! the Galjoen
Western Cape’s provincial symbols : The provincial flower is the Red Disa, the provincial tree is the Silver Tree. Our animal is the Bontebok and our provincial bird is the Cape Sugarbird
The ostrich is the world\'s largest flightless bird, followed in size by Australia\'s Emu and Cassowary.
The Cape Leopard is a small animal - probably the size of a large dog – and is half the size and weight of its Kruger Park cousins. The average weight of a male Cape Leopard is about 35 kilograms.
No longer viable, the Oudtshoorn - Calitzdorp train service was officially stopped and the line closed to regular traffic on 31 May 1993.

calitzdorp high school

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Calitzdorp High School is a combined school serving learners from grade R right up to grade twelve. It is situated on a hill overlooking the town and Gamka valley.

Calitzdorp High School 2017 matric results


C'd high school with bell


tel  044 213 3313

Calitzdorp High School is a Section 21 school which falls under the  Education District of Eden and Central Karoo (05) and municipality of Eden / Kannaland

The school’s EMIS number is 0122112206

School hostel

                                                    School hostel

This school is a

  • Public Combined School
  • Boarding establishment
  • Fee paying school

The Principal is Mr D C Swart

Language of tuition is Afrikaans

For  2017,  539 learners were registered from Grade 1 to Grade 12, plus 29 Grade R children.  Of the total, 311 were female and 257 male.

The school has 13 classrooms, 2 science laboratories,
2 specialist classrooms, 1 workshop,

Principal Mr D C Swart

Principal Mr D C Swart

2 computer rooms and 1 library.

Subjects offered (as per CEMIS 2017) are

  • Afrikaans home language
  • Agricultural Technology
  • Business studies
  • Civil technology
  • Civil technology (Specialisation)
  • Computer applications technology
  • Consumer studies
  • English first additional language
  • Life orientation
  • Life sciences
  • Mathematical literacy
  • Mathematics

C'D High school badge


The school Motto is  : Sine Cera     “Sincere”

Interestingly, sincere comes from two Latin words, sine = without, and cera = wax. A Roman stone mason who made an error could get away with shoddy work by filling in his mistake with wax mixed with stone dust. A truly fine piece of work was sine cera, or without wax, hence our word ‘sincere’.

The school uniform consists of grey skirts, shorts or trousers with white shirt; black v-neck pullover or jersey and in winter the boys wear black, red and white ties.

The school song is as follows :

Daar’s ‘n ligbron op ‘n rant in die hart van Klein karoo
Waar ’n fakkel altyd brand, met ‘n helder lig daarbo.

Dis die skool waar ek studeer, om my vaderland te dien
En my voorgeslag to eer, deur my dade ongesien.

Alma Mater laat my dien, deur my dade, ongesien.
Deur my dade, Sine Cera, Deur my dade, ongesien.

Rebuilding the bell tower

      Rebuilding the bell tower

The bell tower which stands proudly in front of the school is a reconstruction of the original bell-tower which stood on the centre of the roof of the previous school building. The previous building was demolished when the current school building was erected.


Where it all began

The first school in Calitzdorp was the Dutch Reformed Church school.

The school was opened in a building made available –  until the pastorie with a special classroom for the school, was built. There were 35 pupils.

On Monday 21 December 1857, Dominee van der Riet opened proceedings with a service attended by the whole community. The school rules were presented and a speech made by Willem J Hansen the newly appointed teacher. Mr Hansen moved into Die Langhuis, a house built for him at 14 Queen street.

An appeal was made to the church congregants to donate towards the £100 required to bring Hansen’s wife and seven children from Holland.

First school right of the church, with two windows

          First school right of the church, with two windows

15 congregants who had guaranteed the £75 teacher’s annual salary were given a discounted school fee enabling them to enrol two or three children for an annual fee of £5 as opposed to the standard fee of £3.12s per child per annum.

In 1858 it was decided to erect a school building on the church grounds.

The school weathered numerous ups and downs through the years.

In 1866 teacher W J Hansen was followed by Mrs Petro Duwera (De Quera) who taught in English, and the school thus became known as ‘the English school’.

Some parents objected to the language being used for tuition and took their children from the school. A number of children did not get any further education, while others were tutored in little private schools which were opened to teach in the home language. These less costly private schools proved popular, drawing many pupils from the Dutch Reformed Church school.

In 1875 the Dutch Reformed Church school was officially closed, but in 1876 it was re-opened with a Mr D J G Conradie as teacher.

Second school which later became the church hall

              Second school which later became the church hall

In 1898 a second, much larger school was built next to the church to replace the original one.

In 1905 it was reported that   ‘ die gemeente ses nie-ondersteunde teenoor twaalf ‘Government’ ondersteunde skole is ‘   (“in the community there are six non-supported schools as to twelve Government-supported schools”)  The population realised that private schools were generally less costly than government ones, and private schooling increased.

By 1908 the town population had grown to more than 4,000 and it was once again time to consider extending the church and the school to meet the demand.

Built on land donated by Johan Sameul Frederick Brink, the new school on the hill was completed in 1912 at a cost of £5,276 15s 1d.

Third school of 1912 - note the bell tower

                               Third school of 1912 – note the bell tower

The building included an assembly hall, staff room, 8 classrooms, 2 woodwork rooms and a large room for the ‘infants’. The architect for these buildings was Mr Watson Hall, of Oudtshoorn, and the contractors Messrs James & Babb, Maitland.

When ‘Takhaar’, a reporter for the Oudtshoorn Courant newspaper, reported in the Courant dated 9 May 1912 on the great festivities for the inauguration of the new church on 26 April 1912, he included his impression of the new school.

”           …I also visited the spot, at the south-western extremity of the village, where the New Public School Buildings are in course of erection. The building, which, at the time of my visit, was nearly ready to be roofed in, is situated on an elevated plateau, commanding a magnificent view of the Little Zwarte Bergen, and partly overlooking the village.

I have heard it remarked that the site selected is too far distant from the village proper. This may be the case at the present time, but then one has to look to the future, and who knows that with the ultimate linking up of the line of railway from George to Ladismith via Calitzdorp, or a branch from Oudtshoorn to Calitzdorp, the space, now lying vacant between the school site and the village proper, may yet be taken up for so many buildings. Judging by the size of the building the educational possibilities of the “Gamka City” are apparently of great magnitude, and this is certainly to be commended, for with compulsory education adequate provision should be made. The classrooms are large and well ventilated, and the hall – a quadrangle facing the south – is of particularly large dimensions. The building when completed, will undoubtedly not only make provision in a long-felt want, but would also be the means of drawing more pupils from the district, and let us hope that with the completion of the new buildings, the school will be raised to the grade of A1.

The architect for these buildings is Mr Watson Hall, of Oudtshoorn, and the contractors Messrs James & Babb, Maitland.”

view of old (red roof) and new schools before demolition of the old with hostel, top left

view of old (red roof) and new schools before demolition of the old. The mew hostel, top left

The celebratory opening of the new school took place on 20 November 1912 and the old school now became the church hall.

In 1920 the school was awarded secondary school status and in 1927 it officially became a high school.

The Republic of South Africa was constituted on 31 May 1961 and a commemorative arch – ‘ons republiek’ was built at the front entrance to the grounds.

In the late 1960s a completely new school building and boarding hostel were built behind the 1912 school.  When the new buildings were completed, the old school was demolished and on 24 September 1971 the spacious new school was opened by Mr S Theron, the Director of Education.

School headmasters:

  1. 21 December 1857 – 1861 – Mr W J Hansen
  2. 1861 – 1862 – Mr A Reeders
  3. 1862 – 1875 – Mr W Verschuur
  4. 1876 – 1881 – Mr D J G Conradie
  5. 1881 – 1881 – Mr Garcia
  6. 1881 – 1884 – Mr J H L Schumann
  7. 1884 – Oct   1888 – Mr J Klinck
  8. 1888 – July 1890 – Mr T C Pauw
  9. July 1890 – 1901 – Mr H J Geyser
  10. 1901 – 1903 – Mr A B Irutes
  11. 1903 – 1905 – Ds. Barry
  12. 1905 – 1927 – Mr W E Verschuur
  13. 1927 – 1935 – Mnr L L Wahl
  14. 1936 – 1937 – Mr J J de Kock
  15. 1937 – 1945 – Mnr T J T Malherbe
  16. 1945 – 1951 – Mr A D Luckhoff
  17. 1952 – 1959 – Mr T F Malherbe
  18. 1959 – 1962 – Mr J C Dreyer
  19. 1962 – 1965 – Mr D Vermaak
  20. 1966 – 1968 – Mr P M Schreuder
  21. 1969 – 1971 – Mr M G Rust
  22. 1972 – 1981 – Mr W P J du Preez
  23. 1982 – 1986 – Mr F C Sutherland
  24. 1986 – 1994 – Mr S J Conradie
  25. 1994 – 1997 – Dr J H Jacobs
  26. 1997 – – Mr D C Swart