Uniondale

The quaint town of Uniondale is situated in the Little Karoo and is the starting (or ending) point of the popular Route 62. It can be included on routes to such destinations as Oudtshoorn, Baviaanskloof, Port Elizabeth, Knysna and George. The history of Uniondale is the history of two towns, namely Hopedale and Lyon. The two towns were amalgamated in 1856 when the Dutch Reformed Church built its parish between the two towns! Uniondale was initially well known for its wagon building and ostrich feather industries, but as these industries slackened the town was left as a quiet farming town. For South African (Anglo-Boer) War fundis, there are sites of historical interest. Today the town, situated in the Langkloof area, is predominantly a sheep, goat, seed and apple farming community.

The Uniondale area and its surrounds are rich in San rock art sites, and tourists can view the galleries at a number of sites, especially near De Hoop. The town buildings have a surprising

beautiful architectural style, and the strong arts community and the art products found at the arts and crafts workshops are wonderful. The art gallery in town shows off the works, while some of the products can be bought at the farm stalls in the area. The town has the largest water wheel in South Africa, and although not in use as a watermill anymore, it has been restored and houses the art gallery and the “Watermeul” restaurant. Uniondale is famous for its ghost. The spine-chilling spectre is believed to be the ghost of a woman who lost her life in a car accident during the Easter Weekend of 1968. People who have seen the ghost say that it is a spectre of a female hitchhiker with long dark hair, that gives a shrill laugh, opens the boot and disappears, leaving a chill in the air!

Travellers on their way to Knysna will cross the stunningly beautiful Prince Alfred’s Pass. Designed and built by Thomas Baines, the pass still has the original hand packed stone retaining

walls. The Uniondale area is regarded as one of the richest floral areas in South Africa, and is especially well known for its aloe vera products made from the abundant Aloe Ferox plants. Other floral typesinclude subtropical, Western Cape, Grasveld and Karoo flora. The Mountain Pastures Private Game Reserve and San Valley Mountain Retreat offer visitors San rock art paintings and big game viewing.

Entertainment: There are plenty of activities to keep both the locals and travellers busy in Uniondale. The more popular activities tend to be outdoor adventures and include 4×4 trails, hiking trails and game-viewing excursions.

The fly-fishing enthusiast will enjoy the large farm dams which are stocked with a variety of fish including bass and rainbow trout. Other sporting activities include hiking trails with spectacularmountain views and scenery, as well as challenging and fun mountain biking outrides.

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