Garden Route DestinationsAlbertinia, Garden Route
Albertinia, a peaceful little town lying at the foot of the Langeberg Mountain range, is known as the home of the Aloe. The indigenous Aloe ferox, or Cape Aloe, grows prolifically in the area and the leaves are collected and drained for its bitter-tasting sap used in the health and skin care industries.
There are two Aloe factories in Albertinia - the only place in South Africa where the aloe juice and gel are extracted from the colourful aloe species that cover this area during the winter months of June and July. A skincare manufacturer is also based in the town and welcomes visitors to tour their facilities and learn more about the Aloe.
For such a little town Albertinia, which lies between the towns of Riversdale and Mossel Bay, has a couple of distinctive industries. The town, named after the Reverend JR Albertyn, is also the primary source of red and yellow ochre, used in the manufacturing of paints and the colouring of cement and linoleum in South Africa. In addition, the area produces the natural thatch reed, Thamnochortus insignis, for commercial thatching and has a large livestock farming community, including ostrich farming.
The Klein Karoo Wine Route, which stretches from Montagu, ends in Albertinia where, because the climate is so dry, vineyards tend to be organically cultivated and a variety of quality wines are produced against the mountain slopes. You can hike through the Reins Nature Reserve in Gouritsmond, bungee jump from the Gourits River Bridge, just outside Albertinia, or play a round of golf on one of the few remaining sand golf courses.