The Karoo town of Calvinia lies about halfway between Cape Town and Upington. The town is named after the French religious reformer Jean Calvin.
The Hantam mountain range dominates the town, Hantam is the Khoi word for “the mountain where the red bulbs” grow. The town is just south of the mountains on the banks of the Oorlogskloof (meaning “War Ravine”) River.
The tourism season peaks during August and September when it is flower time!
Attractions in Calvinia include:
– Visit Rustic Art in Stigling Street, a journey into a fun and funky mind.
– Spring Flowers – during the flower season, up-to-date maps direct flower-lovers to the best shows, eg Toren, Matjiesfontein and Nerasie farms.
– Akkerendam Nature Reserve with two hiking trails which allows you an opportunity to enjoy the magnificent scenery, study the sterboom and up to 65 species of birds.
– The Calvinia Museum in Church Street is housed in the old synagogue. The museum illustrates the history of sheep farming in South Africa. It also houses the Calvinia Tourism Office which arranges local walks and activities.
Exhibits portray the lives of the early European settlers. A cedarwood horse-mill and a display of mounted Cape fat-tailed, Merino and Dorper sheep relate the history of the area. Tel 027 341 1011.
– There are various 4×4 routes, some steeped in Anglo-Boer War history, along the escarpment with picturesque views and San paintings or along the riverbed with huge Namaqua Fig trees clinging to the rock surfaces. A must during spring when thick carpets of flowers adorn the countryside. Booking at, tel 02726 81317 or 027 341 2201.
– This is sheep country, and the last weekend in August in and around Calvinia, everything is in an uproar when the annual Meat Festival takes place.
– Grave of Abraham Esau, an Anglo-Boer War martyr.
– Designed by Gaysford, a Potchefstroom architect, the Dutch Reformed Church is in neo-gothic style and cost 1 200 pounds to build.
– Built by Field Cornet A van Wyk in 1854, Hantam House is in Cape Dutch style with a concave-convex gable. Retaining its original cedarwood woodwork, traditional delicacies are served in an exclusive coffeehouse built in the original kraal!
|Country name||South Africa|