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Heidelberg, Garden Route Accommodation

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One of the oldest houses in the Southern Cape, the Doornboom Opstal is situated in Fourie Street, Heidelberg. © South African Tourism, License

Heidelberg, Garden Route

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.

Heidelberg is a small town located in the Garden Route of the Western Cape, South Africa. It offers a variety of activities and attractions for visitors.

Here are five things to see or do in Heidelberg:

1. Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve:
Description: This nature reserve is located just outside Heidelberg and is a must-visit for nature enthusiasts. It offers stunning indigenous forest trails, fynbos, and mountain scenery.
Activities: Hiking, bird watching, mountain biking, and guided walks.
Highlights: The ancient Milkwood trees, abundant birdlife including the rare Narina Trogon, and well-maintained trails such as the Bushbuck Trail.

2. Doringrivier Hiking Trail:
Description: This hiking trail offers a more challenging option for avid hikers and takes you through the scenic Langeberg Mountains.
Activities: Hiking and exploring diverse landscapes, from fynbos to forested areas.
Highlights: Stunning views, diverse flora and fauna, and the sense of adventure and solitude.

3. Heidelberg Old Jail:
Description: A historical site in the town, the Old Jail has been transformed into a museum and art gallery showcasing local history and talent.
Activities: Learning about the town’s history and viewing local art.
Highlights: The well-preserved historical building and exhibits that provide insight into the town's past.

4. Lappiesbaai Beach:
Description: Located nearby in the coastal town of Stilbaai, Lappiesbaai Beach is perfect for a relaxing day trip.
Activities: Swimming, sunbathing, beach walks, and picnicking.
Highlights: The beautiful sandy beach, the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, and the tranquil atmosphere.

5. Riversdale Golf Club:
Description: A short drive from Heidelberg, this golf club offers a well-maintained course with picturesque surroundings.
Activities: Playing a round of golf and enjoying the club’s amenities.
Highlights: The scenic course layout, friendly club atmosphere, and beautiful views of the surrounding countryside.

Additional Tip:

Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit is during the spring (September to November) and autumn (March to May) when the weather is mild and pleasant.

Heidelberg offers a mix of outdoor adventure, historical sites, and relaxation, making it a great stop on the Garden Route.

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