Heidelberg is situated on the Duivenhoks River and the town was started in 1855 when a new Dutch Reformed congregation was created for the farmers between Swellendam and Riversdale. The town grew around the church and it was named in honour of the german town, Heidelberg, because of the Heidelberg catechism that was practiced in the church.
In 1903 Heidelberg became part of the railway network and today it is an important transport link for the wool, wheat, fruit, and tobacco industries of the area. The river, the Duivenhoks (Dovecote), was named by an explorer, Isaq Schrijver, who observed a lot of doves where the river flows into the Indian Ocean, at a place called Puntjie. The Duivenhoks River has its origins in the Langeberg range and slowly flows through the undulating foothills.
For hikers to the Heidelberg area, a visit to the Boesmansbos area might prove interesting because of the vast variety of birds and fynbos in the area.
The St Barnabas Anglican Church, in the town of Heidelberg, has lovely woodcarvings and cathedral windows and is well worth a visit.
Heidelberg is situated on the N2 national road and is just a short distance away from the start of the garden route and close to the Stil Bay junction.