Heidelberg, Cape Overberg
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The little, rustic town of Heidelberg, regarded as the western gateway to the Garden Route, lies midway between the towns of Riversdale and Swellendam on the N2, just 276 km from Cape Town. Set on the banks of the Duiwenhoks River, with the soaring Langeberg peaks forming a dramatic backdrop, Heidelberg is a nature lover’s paradise and offers a peaceful and scenic atmosphere, particularly as the area remains largely unexplored and unexploited.
The Duiwenhoks River meanders its way from the town down to the coast, via the remote little hamlet of Vermaaklikheid, where it then merges with the Indian Ocean. The Duiwenhoks Estuary is one of the last remaining unspoiled estuaries in the country and a conservancy preserves its unique character.
The town of Heidelberg dates back to 1855 and was named after the German city of the same name, built similarly on the banks of a river. The area was initially part of the greater Riversdale district until the Riversdale church council bought a portion of the farm Doornboom on which to lay out the town they called Heidelberg.
San Sebastian Bay, at Witsand, is one of the best whale watching points in South Africa and Malgas, only a short distance away, is worth a visit to see one of the only remaining ponts in South Africa still in operation. Hiking in Heidelberg includes the Bosbok hiking trail, a circular route that starts in the Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve, about 22 km from Heidelberg with over 250 ha of forest, parts of it indigenous.
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Featured Attractions in (or near) Heidelberg
Sheltered by the Langeberg Mountains and bordered to the south by the Breede River, the Bontebok National Park provides a refuge for not only bontebok, but also for other species such as the Cape mountain zebra, red hartebeest and grey rhebok. The park is situated within the Cape Floral ... more information
Boosmansbos Wilderness Area lies in the beautiful Langeberg Mountains, over 14 000 hectares that is, in turn, part of the Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve. It is regarded as a hiker's domain, a great space in which to scale peaks to reach views that are virtually unsurpassable, if clambering up ... more information
Almost 30 kilometres outside of Outshoorn in the Klein Karoo, and certainly one of the main reasons for placing this little town on your itinerary, other than the prospect of riding an ostrich, lie the Cango Caves, some of the biggest stalagmite formations in the world set in Precambrian times ... more information
The coming of the whales to the Cape Overberg coastline, also known as the Cape Whale Coast, every year between June and November, not only creates a stir, but brings to our shores a large, intelligent and remarkable giant of the sea and the only mammal to have adapted to life in the open oceans ... more information
The De Hoop Nature Reserve is approximately 34 000 ha in size and one of the largest natural areas managed by Cape Nature Conservation. It is a favourite destination for hikers, cyclists, bird watchers and during the winter and early summer months, whale watchers. The entire length of the De Hoop coast is ... more information
Garcia's Pass links the towns of Riversdale and Ladismith in the Karoo. Back in the old days the only route through the Langeberg Mountains was via the Plattekloof Pass, something of a detour for farmers who wanted to reach Riversdale and subsequently Mossel Bay for trade. Today Garcia's Pass takes travellers along a ... more information
Lying in the heart of the Langeberg Mountains, roughly 22 kilometres north-west of Heidelberg in the Cape Overberg, Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve is exactly as its name denotes - a wonderful large section of forest - 250 hectares of the largest remaining example of indigenous forest in the Langeberg. This ... more information
Things To Do in Heidelberg