A short drive along the N7 highway, less than two hours from Cape Town, lies the beautiful town of Piketberg, which is nestled at the foot of the Piketberg Mountain range and surrounded by a tapestry of wheat fields, vineyards, fruit farms and indigenous fynbos.
This historic village, which was established in 1836 and named after the impressive mountain that it clings to, is now booming as more-and-more people are drawn to its many attractions and its close proximity to the city.
Visitors frequent Piketberg to enjoy – amongst many other things – the stunning natural surrounds, the abundant outdoor activities, good food, good wine, attractive architecture (with the old town featuring gorgeously restored cottages as well as the imposing neo-gothic style Dutch Reformed Church), warm country hospitality and rich heritage.
For the cultural traveller, the area offers a variety of mission stations (Moravia, Goedverwacht and Genadenberg) as well as some good historical opportunities. The area boasts one of the largest lakes in the country and one of the few coastal fresh water lakes in South Africa. Verlorenvlei, which lies between the coastal town of Elands Bay and Redelinghuys has been declared a RAMSAR site. Discover the mystique of the wines and champagne of the region at a local wine tasting or indulge in the outstanding arts of internationally acclaimed local artists.
Goedverwacht, which means “high expectations” was established in 1889 as a Moravian Mission station and is a place rich in history. Located in a fertile valley 144 kilometres from Cape Town, near the town of Piketberg and right next to sister mission town Wittewater, Goedverwacht is situated on land that originally belonged to farmer Hendrik Schalk Burger. In return for her loyalty and remaining on the farm to care for him (despite the emancipation of slaves) Hendrik Burger left his farm to his slave, Maniesa and her family, in his Will. The farm remained in Maniesa’s family until her last child, Hester, died (her grave can be seen in the graveyard) upon which her descendants sold the farm to the Moravian Missionaries for 750 Pounds.
This fascinating little settlement is characterized by historic whitewashed thatched homes with brightly painted windows and doors. The old water mill – now the Mill Museum, the parsonage as well as the church are all National Monuments and are well worth a visit. The beautiful and imposing Moravian Church, built in 1846 out of clay and stone, is truly a spectacular site to behold. Visitors can stock up on fresh locally grown produce , enjoy a picnic in the picturesque surrounds, and, from mid-August to late September, enjoy the abundant wildflowers and fynbos in full bloom. The increasingly popular annual Goedverwacht Snoek & Patat fees is also a highlight on the town’s calendar.
Just two hours’ drive from Cape Town, between Piketberg and Verlorenvlei, lies the charming village of Redelinghuys. The town was founded on what was originally a farm named Wittedrift and today is a refuge away from fast paced life and a sought-after getaway for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.
Visitors to Redelinghuys can look forward to quaint country charm, beautiful historic architecture, and warm friendly hospitality, all surrounded by stunning scenery – with the Verlorenvlei estuary (one of the largest natural wetlands and a RAMSAR protected sites) on Redelinghuys’ doorstep, as well as the beaches of Elands Bay being close by.
Wittewater, situated between the towns of Piketberg and Velddrif, was originally established as a mission station in 1857 by German Moravian missionaries. The village, with its historic whitewashed and thatched houses with their brightly painted windows, clings to the slopes of the beautiful Piketberg Mountains and offers spectacular rock art sites, hiking trails, as well as being a wonderful location from which to view the world-renowned indigenous wildflowers during the Spring season.
The name, “Wittewater” or “white water”, refers to the seasonal waterfall behind the town, which makes itself apparent after abundant winter rains. There is a wide range of accommodation options and activities available in the nearby area for visitors and a visit to Goedverwacht, the sister mission town to Wittewater, is a must.