Ladismith, situated along Route 62, is the Jewel of the Klein Karoo, and nestles beautifully at the foot of the Klein Swartberg Mountain Range. The majestic Towerkop (2,189m) with its split peak, looms above the town. Local legend has it that a witch, flying overhead during a thunderstorm, found the peak obstructing her passage over the mountain and struck the peak in anger with her wand, splitting it in two!
The town was laid out in 1852 and named after Lady Juana Smith, the Spanish wife of Sir Harry Smith, Governor of the Cape. The spelling of the town’s name changed to “Ladismith” in 1879 to avoid confusion with the similarly-named town in Natal.
The town is the centre of a prosperous farming area producing fruit (apricots, grapes, plums, peaches), milk for two cheese factories, wine, flowers, mutton and ostrich. The Towerkop and
Anysberg Nature Reserve are situated in the area. There are several hiking trails taking in five of the eight highest mountain peaks situated in Ladismith. Special interest routes include the magnificent Seweweekspoort (wonderful for hiking and mountain biking), Hoeko Valley – where Langenhoven was born, Knuywagensdrift, Zoar and Amalienstein, Dwarsrivier, Voorbaat and Van Zylsdamme. Vegetation is widely varied and ranges from fynbos in the mountains to broken veld, spekboom and succulent Karoo on the koppies and plains. Here in the Klein Karoo twenty-one of the twenty-two Gibbaem species can be found. Recreation includes bird-watching, horse-riding, 4×4 routes, golf, bowls, badminton, squash, tennis, rugby and cricket.