This sub-route is situated in the Langkloof fruit region on a section of the famous Route 62. The route offers a rural, country-like and historical experience with something interesting around every corner. Langkloof includes breathtaking scenery, farm-life experiences, historical buildings and landmarks, and adventurous activities in a pleasant tranquil environment. The route stretches from the small town of Avontuur, past the villages of Haarlem, Misgund, Louterwater and Krakeel to the town of Joubertina, before it leads to Twee Riviere and finally Kareedouw.
Reasons to visit
The area is rich in biodiversity with over 2,000 species of fynbos, abundant bird and wildlife, making it perfect for hiking and mountaineering. Langkloof is one of the most scenic sections of Route 62, with a backdrop of mountains, valleys and waterfalls. The peacefulness and rural qualities of the area makes it a wonderful place to just relax in and breathe in the fresh country air.
Activities include a scenic drive over the nearby Prince Alfred’s Pass, built by the famous engineer Thomas Bain, who was also responsible for constructing many other passes in South Africa. Amidst the tranquillity there is still room for adventure, from hiking in the Formosa Nature Reserve and quad-biking, to 4x4 routes and abseiling in the Kouga Mountains.
The church building in Joubertina dates back to 1911 and is believed to be the first building in town. This beautiful historic building was constructed with sandstone bricks and a unique yellowwood interior that complements the building style. Apart from a visit to the museum in Twee Riviere there is also a beautiful Cape Dutch building that is 200 years old and is said to be where fruit farming began in the region.
Honeybush specifically occurs within the Langkloof area and products include teas and other drinks, best-known for its health benefits.
Avontuur is the first town on the R62 in the Langkloof. The town was originally a leasehold farm called Avontuur that is famous for its export-quality apples. Avontuur lies on the western end of the historic 283km narrow-gauge railway line where the famous Apple Express steam train transported apples to the harbour at Port Elizabeth for export.
Haarlem is located 16km from Avontuur and originated as a mission station in 1856. It was laid out on the banks of the Groot River before being handed over to the Berlin Missionary Group. The new station was originally called the Anhalt-Schmidt, in honour of the first missionary Friedrich Prietsch, who came from Anhalt in Germany.
The local community struggled with the name and decided to name the town Haarlem, after the famous Dutch town close to Amsterdam. The town’s church is worth a visit and was built in a Neo-Gothic style in 1880 through the initiative of Heinrich Howe and Cristoph Markotter.
Almost all the houses in the quaint village of Krakeel are situated on the banks of the Krakeel River, which has its origin in the Tsitsikamma Mountains. The name is a Dutch word for fighting and is an onomatopoeic description of the noise that the water makes at the confluence. The Formosa Nature Reserve is worth a visit and is situated between Haarlem and Krakeel River.
Most of the fruit farmers in this area are descendants of Matthijs Strijdom, who was originally awarded the leasehold farm in 1770. The father of J.G. Strijdom, the first minister of the Union of South Africa (1954-1958) was from this lineage.
History and background of the Langkloof
The Langkloof Valley was previously inhabited by KhoiSan people and traces of their presence are reflected in rock art paintings on the walls of many rock shelters. 'Hottentot' pastoralists came into the area after the San and contributed to many of the place names in the valley, like Gwarina or Querina ('the ravine of the eland'), Kouga ('place of the blue wildebeest'), Traka ('place of the women') and Humtata ('plain where the Hottentot figs grow'). These and other names are reminders of a vanished people, whose absence is largely a result of a smallpox epidemic.
Izaak Schryver’s expedition was the first European exploration of the area in 1689. Subsequently, hunters, botanists and explorers followed. The first European settlers came into the area in 1740. These settlers aggrieved the Cape Town authorities as they were pioneers of sorts and were constantly expanding the frontiers in an attempt to stay one step ahead of the tax collectors. The tax gatherers invariably followed them.
By 1773, about eight homesteads had been built in the Langkloof. The pioneers of the area include men like R. Kamfer (at Kamfer), M. Zondagh (farm Avontuur or Adventure), John Kritzinger on Onzer, Tjaart van der Walt on Warmbad and Jan de Buys on De Ezeljacht. Jan de Buys was the father of a notorious South African frontiersman, namely, Coenraad de Buys. Coenraad was born on the farm Wagenboomrivier. He had his own farm, de Opkomst near Kareedouw, and enjoyed a very wild lifestyle. He also practiced polygamy on a large scale, and he ended up wandering off as an outlaw, heading into the northern wilderness. At Mara, on the southern slopes of the Soutpansberg in Limpopo, he eventually founded a tribe of his own descendants, the Buys people.
The Langkloof was invaded by Xhosa warriors and many stories tell of wild fights, escapes and adventures. The valley was very remote and inaccessible for wagons or horses. Still today many valleys attached to the Langkloof are difficult to reach.
Farmers came to this fruitful region in the Langkloof in the late 18th Century. The town of Joubertina is situated near the Nabooms River, which is a branch of the Kouga River. It was established as an NG (Dutch Reformed) Church in 1907. Its name originates from the Reverend W.A. Joubert, who was Reverend of Uniondale from 1879 to 1892.
The owner of the farm that was sold for the development of this town, Daniel Kritzinger, was a teetotaller. He therefore made the condition that if he sold his farm for the development of Joubertina, it should not be allowed to sell any alcohol. As a consequence, the hotel was built outside of municipal boundaries, so as to avoid this law. Joubertina and its surrounds are best known for their apples, but are also famous for quality pears, peaches, apricots and youngberries.
Twee Riviere is a small settlement but is in fact only a group of house near the confluence of the Nabooms and Kouga Rivers. The original leasehold farm was given to Jac Scheepers in 1765 but was later handed over to the Olivier family, which is still a common surname in this region.
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