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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.

events in and around calitzdorp

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JUNE 2018

Friday 15 – Monday 17 June 2018
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Our annual festival, to warm up your winter –
MTB Classic, fun, food, live entertainment and music, art and wine.
Don’t miss it!

Contact Zelma Kriek 082 576 5855



Saturday 30 June 2018  –  12:00
De Krans, Calitzdorp
de krans long table lunch



Starter: Ostrich liver pate with Apricot Fougasse
Main : Traditional Bobotie with caramelized sweet potato
Dessert : Milktart cheesecake

R160 (excl service fee)  Booking essential
tel 044 213 3314





From Friday 15 June 2018 – 5 nights, 4 days
Gamka River Safari Co
Saint Helena Farm

karusa horse trek4


An exceptional Horse Trek into an ever changing landscape of ethereal splendour – mountains, valleys, vineyards and farms, spot unique wildlife and enjoy luxury cottage accommodation along the way.

Information and reservations:
Reservations: 0789879852 – Hans




JULY 2018

From Friday 27 July 2018 – 5 nights, 4 days
Gamka River Safari Co
Saint Helena Farm

karusa horse trek3



An exceptional Horse Trek into an ever changing landscape of magnificent mountains, valleys, vineyards and farms; unique wildlife and luxury cottage accommodation along the way.

Information and reservations:
Reservations: 0789879852 – Hans



Saturday 28 July 2018
Boplaas Family Cellars
Saayman Street, Calitzdorp




Stoepsit Bistro : Famous Oxtail
Live Entertainment – Blue Domino Band
Famous Oxtail

Enquiries and bookings
Contact: Annarie Cornelius
tel 044 2133 326





Saturday 04 August – Sunday 12 August 2018
ART ON TRACK 2018 – Theme – ‘WATER’




Our popular, most successful annual art competition is about to take place in Calitzdorp once again.We look forward to a great diversity of beautiful work. Get ready to submit your pieces – or come and admire and perhaps buy the ones you know will be perfect for that blank spot in your home!

Mike Muuren tel 083 2854 751

Erina Meiring : Calitzdorp Tourism :
tel: 044 213 3775



Saturday 4 August – Sunday 12 August 2018
Calitzdorp Art-On-Track
Boplaas Family Cellars
Saayman Street, Calitzdorp



Bespoke Artisanal cocktails
9 August – Live entertainment : Vernon Barnardstill to confirm
Rides on the “Stoepsit Express

enquiries : Annarie Cornelius
tel 044 2133 326




Thursday 09  – Sunday 12 August 2018
Klin Karoo Klassique 2018_PR2


Classical music, cuisine, wine, art
tel 044 203 8640
Tickets: Computicket and Shoprite / Checkers





From Friday 31 August 2018 – 5 nights, 4 days
Gamka River Safari Co
Saint Helena Farm
karusa horse trek6


An exceptional Horse Trek.  Enjoy into an ever changing landscape of  soaring mountains, valleys, vineyards and farms.  Spot unique wildlife and relax in luxury cottage accommodation along the way.

Information and reservations:
Reservations: 0789879852 – Hans




Saturday 1 – Sunday 2 September 2018
Time: 11h00, 13h00 and 15h00
Boplaas Family Cellars
Saayman Street, Calitzdorp

blossoms-boplaasStoepsit Gin Bar – bespoke artisanal cocktails
Distilling demonstrations in new distillery & the Flacon kettle –
R80pp for demo including tasting of 4 products and a cocktail –
8 persons per session Booking Essential

1 September – Live entertainment  – Fynbos band
Stoepsit Bistro – Traditional Braai Menu
Rides on the “Stoepsit Express

Enquiries and bookings
Contact: Annarie Cornelius
tel 044 2133 326



Saturday 1 – Sunday 2 September 2018
De Krans Wine Cellar



tel 044 213 3314






Friday 21 September 2018  –   09:30 – 21:30
Calitzdorp Vetplantfees / Succulent Festival
10 Geyser street

2018 Franz Nolte



Space limited to 8 people – BOOKING ESSENTIAL!

R550 per person
Advance registration opens 01 August 2018
See Franz’s website
Contact Buck Hemenway




Saturday 22 – Monday 24 September 2018
Calitzdorp centre

2017 vetplantfees succsocpicDSC_1802

Contact  Buck Hemenway
tel 076 298 7337
Erina Meiring, Calitzdorp Tourism
tel 044 213 3775




Saturday 22 – Monday 24 September 2018
Calitzdorp Vetplantfees / Succulent Festival
Stoepsit Gin Bar
Boplaas Family Cellars
in new kettle, tasting of 4 products and a cocktail

Boplaas gin still



Bespoke artisinal cocktails
A demonstration on how to distil Gin & other spirits in the new distillery and the Falcon kettle.
R80pp includes demo, tasting of 4 products and a cocktail

Only 8 persons per session Booking essential!

All enquiries and booking contact Annarie Cornelius
tel 044 213 3326




Monday 24 September 2018
Calitzdorp Succulent Festival
Boplaas Family Cellars

boplaas Gin2018.02



Live entertainment – PURPLE DOMINO BAND
Traditional braai menu
Rides on the ‘Stoepsit Express’

Annarie Cornelius
tel 044 213 3326






Friday 28 September 2018



6 and 12 kilometers

Dryland Event Management
tel 044 279 1013




Saturday 29 September  2018


29, 43 and 85km MTB race through the most magnificent poort in the country!

Now includes Schools MTB Challenge

There are school’s races in the 29km & 43km distances at the Ladismith Cheese #7WeeksMTB this year.

Enter your school by mailing

Dryland Event Management
tel 044 279 1013



Saturday 06 October 2018
Boplaas Family Cellars
Saayman street
Daniel Nel

Bespoke artisinal cocktails

Live entertainment – FYNBOS BAND
Traditional braai menu
Rides on the ‘Stoepsit Express’

Annarie Cornelius
tel 044 213 3326




Saturday 13 October 2018

Meiringspoort 2018_2


12.5 and 21.1 km

tel 076 130 7920 Office hours only