Calitzdorp, well known for its fine port wines, is situated about 50km west of Oudtshoorn along the R62. The recorded history of the village began in 1821, when the farm Buffelsvlei was given to the Calitz brothers. By 1853, a church and school were built and much of the Oudtshoorn congregation found that the new settlement was a much more convenient place to attend the “Nagmaal”. After experiencing great difficulties including drought and flu epidemics, Calitzdorp is today a thriving community well known for its excellent port wine and fruit produce.
Walk down Queen Street to see some fine examples of Karoo, Victorian and Gregorian architecture. The neo-Byzantine stone church, completed in 1912, has a lovely “Marseilles” roof and is a provincial heritage site. The adjoining church hall has 27 wall hangings illustrating the gospel according to St Matthew. There is a small museum and an art gallery.
The mineral rich spring waters near the Gamka River are a popular attraction. The Hennie Cloete Nature Garden offers some of the succulents and vygies that the town is famous for, and the Gamkasberg Dam Nature Reserve is the place where the new protea Golden Mimetese was discovered. The cellars here produce some of South Africa’s best dessert wines, especially port.
A worthwhile drive is to nearby Amaleinstein, a town famous for its beautiful church and whitewashed buildings.
The pleasant climate means that activities like horse-riding, walking and hiking are especially popular. The area is also popular with 4×4 enthusiasts and mountain bikers. Canoeists and fishermen will appreciate the river.