Nestled at the foothills of the magnificent Klein Swartberg Mountain range, midway between Barrydale and Calitzdorp on Route 62, lies the town of Ladismith. It stretches far beyond the tiny central village into farmlands, orchards, Karoo and fynbos veld, and waits patiently to be discovered by travellers keen to explore its hidden treasures.
The town and surrounds stretch east to west and make for a perfect self-drive destination. Ambling country roads lead to homesteads and nearby farmlands, green valley’s rich in agricultural produce and mysterious kloofs.
To really enjoy the region’s produce, try some dried fruit, Barrydale Cellars’ Joseph Barry 10 year old Potstill Brandy or the Ladismither cheese. The Karoo Vine wine shop sells a wide selection of local wines.
The town itself is unique with its own individual building style. The so-called Ladismith style is a simplified Georgian design and dates from the 1830’s. Several buildings have been declared National Monuments, like the Otto Hager church where the Tourism Bureau is housed.
The little town is filled with quaint restaurants and shops and the surrounding environment is perfect for outdoor adventures, photography and picnicking.
Here are some ideas…
Mountain biking: Several mountain bike routes at Buffelspoort Mountain Resort Natural Heritage site, Springvale Cottage in the Dwarsrivier Valley , Rietfontein Guest Farm in Touwsberg and Klein Kannaland Farm in Opzoek.
Canoeing, kloof swimming and abseiling: At the Buffelspoort and Klein Kannaland Farm.
Horse Riding: At Fontein Horses, approx 15 km out of Ladismith, towards Calitzdorp
Mountain climbing: Several mountaineering routes with five of the eight highest peaks in the Western Cape situated within a 15 km radius from the centre of town.
Rock climbing: The best known is Nefdt’s Route – the first recorded rock-climbing route in South Africa, opened by a local Voorbaat farmer, Gustaf Nefdt, in 1885. Rock climbing has been part of Towerkop ever since, and over the decades dozens of routes have been opened. However, large parts of the formidable faces still haven’t been climbed and will continue to lure future climbers in the years to come.
Hiking trails: Towersig 1 day, Stanley’s Light 1 day, Seweweekspoort 1 day or overnight, Seweweekspoort to Towerkop Traverse – multi day hike.
Kiddies’ entertainment: Visit Klein Kannaland Farm, halfway between Ladismith and Calitzdorp, and indulge the kids in experiencing Angora rabbits on a farm in a beautiful valley setting. Canoeing and cycling can also be arranged.
4×4 Routes: Take the route up to the summit of the Klein Swartberg range from Buffelspoort as well as through the Poort or at Springvale in the Dwarsrivier Valley or at Matjiesrivier towards Calitzdorp.
Nature reserves: The Anysberg Nature Reserve which is dotted with numerous archeological sites.
Buffelspoort is another Natural Heritage site.
Country shops: About 50kms from Ladismith on the road to Riversdale you’ll find the pink roof of Toeties country store and deli. Also pop-in at Muiskraal Olive Farm for delicious, plump olives, olive oils and tapenade. On the road toward Barrydale you’ll find the new country store Algerynskraal which serves a stunning Sunday Buffet.
Artists’ Retreats: There are a number of retreats in the area as well as local artists, like Michael Waters, who have made the area home.
Scenic Drives / Day Trips
-Seweweekspoort: Drive through the poort and turn right to Gamkapoort dam via Boschluyskloof a must for mountain bikers and off road motorcyclists.
-Hoeko Valley and Knuywagensdrift: Breathtaking views of orchards in spring and autumn. Almost a third of the South African apricot export market is produced here and it’s the birthplace of C J Langenhoven, one of South Africa’s most famous authors. The Water monument on the Knuywagensdrift tells a unique story.
-Zoar and Amalienstein: Former Berlin Mission stations. Walk through vineyards and orchards and maybe hitch a donkey-cart ride. Also visit the recently opened Amalienstein Country Shop for local produce. The community come together annually to celebrate their heritage in the proud Khoi tradition of the area and draw supporters from far and near in the month of September.
-Dwarsriver, Voorbaat and Van Zylsdamme: Picturesque valleys west of the town with orchards, vineyards and old farm houses.
-Rooiberg Pass: Situated between Vanwyksdorp and Calitzdorp.
This post was written by Debra de Jager of Koedoeskloof Country Lodge