The small settlement of Papendorp, also known as Viswater (fish water) is situated 55km from Vredendal.
This settlement offers visitors a quiet, peaceful setting with a panoramic view over the wetland and mouth of the Olifants River. The wetlands of the estuary are an important habitat for migratory birds and an Important Bird Area (IBA). A recent visitor recorded 78 species in the area including the much sought Little Blue Heron.
The Olifants River estuary is one of only four estuaries situated on the west coast of Southern Africa. Mining activities have caused a degradation of the area and the sensitive area around the river mouth. Despite this degradation, a huge variety of land, sea and water birds are seen. A huge diversity of plant life is also evident.
The people from Papendorp derive its livelihood from fishing in the estuary and from salt gathering at the nearby salt pans. The salt that is gathered here is still processed in the traditional way. Papendorp is one of the few remaining places where you can see the simplicity of life in its purest form as it used to be along the entire West Coast.
This small settlement is situated on the Olifants River estuary, about approximately 25km from Lutzville. It was founded in 1854 by Sir and Lady Fryer who was reminded of the moors of Ireland. This historic Mission Station is known for its peaceful atmosphere, beautiful scenery and bird life.
In those days the Olifants River was navigable to approximately 50km from the mouth of the river where it flows into the ocean and supplies for the town was brought by boat. In 1978 a dam was built at the end of the irrigation canal to store surplus water that would otherwise have run into the ocean. This dam now supplies irrigation water to about 30ha of agricultural land.
The name Ebenaezer or Stone of help can be translated as 'The Lord has helped us thus far'. With future recognition as an RAMSAR site the wetlands of the sanctuary are an important habitat for migratory birds and an Important Bird Area (IBA). In the local graveyard visitors will find the simple grave of Amalia Leipoldt, the aunt of the well-known Louis C. Leipoldt
This tranquil countryside town is situated about 283km from Cape Town on the banks of the Olifants River. The town derives its name from the wild clover that grows in the area. The irrigation canal siphon at 'Kransbrug' was constructed by Italian prisoners of war and is a unique sight in Klawer. This siphon draws water from the western to the eastern canal of the river and forms an integral part of the irrigation system of the Olifants River Valley.
A wonderful legacy of rock art was left by the Khoi and Bushmen at various sites in mountains in the area. Snaking its way past the green vineyards and other agricultural plantations, the Olifants River truly is the vein of the Olifants River Valley. The agricultural activities offer a variety of fruit and vegetables such as grapes, sweet potatoes, watermelon, tomatoes and many more. These fruits and vegetables are also exported to the international market.
During the flower season in Spring, depending on the preceding winters' rainfall, this arid landscape is transformed into a flower paradise. With the majestic Matzikamma Mountains in the east and the Olifants River in the west.
Vanrhynsdorp is situated in the folds of the towering Matzikamma- and 'Gifberg' (poison-mountain) Mountains on the N7. The town was established in 1751 after farmers that moved around with their cattle built their own little town called Trutro next to a river with the same name.
The origin of this name is unknown, but there are different versions as to where the name was derived from. One is that it is derived from the Khoi (indigenous people) war-cry - toru-toro and the other are that it means the river of the battlefield.
A Dutch Reformed Church was founded in 1850. The farmer, Petrus van Rhyn, offered to build the church if each congregation lid paid one shilling a year for maintenance of the building. In 1881 it was decided to change the name of the town to Vanrhynsdorp to honour Mr Van Rhyn. The first plots were sold in 1887 and municipal status was achieved in 1913.
Vanrhynsdorp also played a prominent role in the Anglo-Boer War. In 1901 General J.B.M. Hertzog occupied the town on behalf of the Boer-Republic.
The town is also home to a succulent nursery that is the largest of its kind in the world. This nursery has become the centre of preservation of a variety of indigenous succulents. These interesting plants draw attention from overseas and local visitors alike. In bygone years the mountains in the area were home to the San (indigenous people) and many fine examples of the art of these Late Stone Age hunter-gatherers exist in several rock shelters.
At a marble mine just south of the town a unique pearl-grey marble, which is more than 650 million years old, is mined and processed. Visitors must include a visit to the Van Rhijn Museum to view Trutro artifacts and the Latsky Radio Museum to view a collection of old valve radios, some dating back to 1924. Vanrhynsdorp has a distinct Victorian character and offers a wide range of attraction, from those that are culturally historically interesting to exciting eco-experiences. The botanical kingdoms converse here, namely the Nama-Karoo vegetation, 'Knersvlakte' succulents and Cape fynbos in the mountains.