Below is a list of accommodation establishments along this route. Bookings and enquiries can be made directly with the establishment.
Below is a list of arts and crafts outlets and projects on this route. Booking and enquiries can be made directly with the business.
Below is a list of arts and crafts outlets and projects on this route. Enquiries can be made directly with the business.
Below is a list of environmental attractions on this route. Booking and enquiries can be made directly with the business.
Below is a list of restaurants and other food and beverage outlets on this route. Bookings and enquiries can be made directly with the establishment.
Below is a list of services on this route. Enquiries can be made directly with the business.
The Kanna Biodiversity Experience is situated in the Little Karoo and forms part of the scenic Route 62 and includes the towns of Ladismith, Van Wyksdorp, Zoar, Calitzdorp and De Rust. Neatly placed amongst majestic mountains and passes of the Swartberg, Gamkaberg, Rooiberg, Seweweekspoort, Huisrivier and Meiringspoort, the area boasts some of the most spectacular rock formations in the region. The area is located in the succulent Karoo biome that features these desert-adapted species in abundance. The Karoo is characterised by its arid and flat landscape where hot days and cold nights make it one of the best regions on the world for stargazing. The route offers a range of attractions linked to people, biodiversity, history and culture.
The little town of Ladismith is handsomely set against the foot of the Klein Swartberg Mountains and is overlooked to the north by some of the most scenic peaks of the Swartberg Mountains. The area is renowned for its dairy produce and the Parmalat Shop offers traditional cheeses such as Gouda and cheddar or brie and creamy blue. Ladismith Cheese has been manufactured in Ladismith since 1940 under the leadership of Roy Taylor. The Ladismith Cheese Company was founded in June 1999 and has grown significantly since then.
The town is also known for its talented local artists and the Otto Hager Church building in South Street has a permanent exhibition of their work on display. The Touwsberg Private Game & Nature Reserve offers a large variety of game and flora in self-contained biological and geological ecosystems. Touwsberg Private Game & Nature Reserve is located on 2 500 hectares and features a unique combination of mountain fynbos and typical Karoo veld.
The town serves an extensive farming area with ideal climate for the production of quality fruit. Ladismith produces a third of the country’s apricots, peaches, plums, and nectarines for the export market. The Hoeko Valley is ideal for cultivating wine and Ladismith Cellar produces a number of quality wines and offer tastings to the public by prior arrangement.
The seemingly unclimbable summit of the Klein Swartberg known as Towerkop remains a favourite amongst mountaineers. The name Towerkop (Enchanted peak) has its origin in a folk tale that tells the story of a witch who was thwarted near the summit while cross the range on night. In her rage she split the great rock dome before her using her wand and today it remains divided into the eastern and western pinnacles.
Neatly placed along a fertile valley 22km from Ladismith, Zoar is surrounded by mountains and is developing as a popular attraction among hikers as trips can be arranged by the local community.
Zoar was established in 1817 as a mission station and was named after the biblical town on the Red Sea. In 1833 the land was formerly transferred to the Berlin Missionary Society to be held in trust for the local inhabitants.
The quaint village of Amalienstein started as a Berlin Mission station and was named after the lady who provided the funds to purchase the land, Frau Amalie von Stein. There is a legend in the Karoo that talks about a beautiful mermaid that can be seen sitting on a rock at rivers and waterfalls, combing her long black hair. This legend was explored in a documentary on SABC television called 'Magic Places'. It followed an intriguing trail of indigenous stories, first-hand sightings of mermaids, fossils, and mysterious San rock art of mermaid-like creatures which occur only in this area. Amalienstein is one of the areas where the mermaid is said to have been seen.
This quiet village of Van Wyksdorp is situated on 42km from Ladismith. The town has a population of approximately 2 000 people that includes the surrounding villages and farms. Van Wyksdorp was established in 1839 as a Dutch Reformed Church parish, on the farm Buffelsfontein which was owned by Gerrit van Wyk. The name Van Wyksdorp was a result of the large number of Van Wyk residents in the area. During the years of the ostrich boom, it was the centre of education in the Little Karoo. The school was built in 1912 and during the boom had well over 200 pupils who came from surrounding towns.
The area is popular with mountain bikers and off-road motorbikes and passes such as the Rooiberg Pass is well known for its scenic beauty. Van Wyksdorp is renowned for its dried flower industry and wild flowers are harvested from the mountain sides, dried, dyed and exported. Popular tourism activities include 4x4 trails, hiking trails, mountain biking and camping. Stargazing and bird-watching are popular pastimes and the area has abundant wildlife.
This typical little Karoo town of Calitzdorp is nestled in a fertile valley that was originally a lake. Streams meander through the surrounding Swartberg and the Rooiberg mountains to provide a source of water for the surprising amount of fruit grown in the area.
The Khoi people called the area Kannaland – valley with no grass. There is evidence of early San and Khoi people in numerous rock paintings found in the surrounding mountains. In 1853 land was donated by the Calitz brothers so that a church and school could be built. Queen Street is one of the oldest streets in town and houses a number of Edwardian, Victorian and Karoo style buildings that gives the town its sense of place.
This dry arid area was only explored by European settlers in the late 17th Century, where they found only Khoisan people who inhabited the area for centuries before them. Herds of buffalo, elephant and kudu once dominated the vast plains only to be hunted or driven out by modern development. Even though this semi-arid area seems inhospitable, it was turned into a productive farming district by making use of modern farming methods that turned the valley into a productive and wealthy part of the district.
The Khoisan people:
Khoisan is the collective name for two ethnic groups of Southern Africa who share physical and linguistic characteristics. Culturally, the Khoisan are divided into the foraging San and the pastoral Khoi. Khoi pastoralists arrived in Southern Africa shortly before the Bantu and adopted the hunter-gatherer economy of the San due to a drying climate.
Terms used to describe the Khoisan people include Bushmen, referring to the San, and Hottentot, referring to the Khoi or Khoe. Khoi derives from the old Nama word for 'person', while Khoe is the modern Nama word. 'Bushmen' is still being used by some individuals although San is considered to be politically correct.
This area was first settled by Europeans in the middle of the 18th Century. As in other areas of the Little Karoo, strong men wandered across the southern mountains, hunting, grazing cattle and hoping to escape the grasping hand of the tax-gatherer. Ladismith started as a permanent place for worship for surrounding farmers. In 1851 a portion of the farm Elands Vallei was bought from Balthazar Kloppers. The town was established in 1852, named after Lady Juana Smith, wife of the Governor of the Cape, Sir Harry Smith. The original Ladysmith was changed in 1879 to Ladismith to prevent confusion with a similarly named town in Natal. At first the town was administrated by the Dutch Reformed Church until it received local government status in 1862 and became a municipality in 1903.
The ostrich feather craze converted Ladismith into a boom town, like many other Karoo towns, with 50 000 birds feeding on lucerne fields around the town. The feather crash of 1914 brought the district to bankruptcy and economic relief and rehabilitation only came in 1924, when the branch railway was opened connecting Ladismith to the main line at Touws River. The link provided an outlet to markets for farmers to sell their products. In 1981 a tremendous flood severely damaged the railway line, and is now replaced by road transport.
Sir Henry George Wakelyn Smith:
Lieutenant General, Sir Henry George Wakelyn Smith, known as Sir Harry Smith, was a notable English soldier and military commander in the British Army in the early 1800s. He is particularly remembered as the hero of the Battle of Aliwal (India) in 1846.
In 1828, Smith was ordered to the Cape of Good Hope, where he commanded a division in the Xhosa Wars of 1834-36. In 1835 he accomplished the feat of riding from Cape Town to Grahamstown in less than six days.
Lady Juana Smith:
Juana María de los Dolores de León Smith, Lady Smith was the wife of Sir Harry Smith. Born into an old Spanish noble family, in 1812 at the age of fourteen, she found herself orphaned when her home town Badajoz was besieged for the fourth time during the Spanish Peninsular War. After the siege ended in a successful but very bloody storming by the British and Portuguese forces, the sisters sought protection from the plundering and pillaging soldiers by some British officers they found camping outside the city walls. One of them was Brigade-Major Harry Smith, of the elite 95th Rifles scout regiment, whom she married a few days later.
She chose to accompany him and remained with him throughout the rest of the war. Her beauty, courage, sound judgment and amiable character endeared her to the officers, including the Duke of Wellington, who spoke of her familiarly as Juanita and she was idolised by the soldiers.
Known as Lady Smith in her later years, Juana Smith is commemorated directly in the name of Ladysmith in the province of KwaZulu-Natal and Ladismith in the Western Cape, as well as indirectly in the name of Ladysmith, British Columbia, Canada.
Lady Smith is sometimes said to have introduced the cantaloupe or muskmelon (Cucumis melo cantalupensis) to South Africa, where she eat it every day for breakfast. The farm workers then started referring to it as spanspek (or spanspec or sponspe(c)k), which in Afrikaans literally means Spanish bacon.
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The Kanna Biodiversity Experience is situated in the Little Karoo Priority Area of the Succulent Karoo. This is in the eastern part of the Western Cape and forms part of the scenic Route 62. Towns that form part of this route are Ladismith, Van Wyksdorp, Zoar, Calitzdorp and De Rust.Enquire Now
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