Western Cape DestinationsUniondale, Karoo
Uniondale lies adjacent to the Langkloof, which winds its way through the foothills of the of the Tsitsikamma Mountain range in an area renowned for its scenic drives. Uniondale came into being when the two towns of Hopedale and Lyon became one in 1856. Uniondale was originally famous for its wagon building and ostrich feather industries but these faded over time leaving a quaint farming community whose principle production is sheep, goats, seeds and apples.
One cannot speak of Uniondale without mention of the ghost for which the town is famous, but about which the town’s folk are pretty miffed, due to the unfeeling media hype that has surrounded the story. A car accident in 1968, involving a young man and his fiancée asleep in the back of the car, resulted in her death as he lost control of the car in stormy weather just 20 km outside of Uniondale. The first recorded sighting of the young woman, with her long dark hair and dark clothing, was not made until the Easter weekend of 1976. Since then a number of sightings have been claimed, involving a female hitchhiker who inexplicably disappears, chilliness in the air and car doors that open and close at the site of the accident.
Then there’s Uniondale’s watermill - the lovingly restored 1854 version with the largest wheel in South Africa, which now houses an art gallery and superb restaurant - and the Jewish Synagogue with its unique murals.
Some of the most beautiful drives are possible in the area around Uniondale. The Prince Alfred, Homtini, Montagu and Phantom passes, all dirt roads, are sheer breathtaking beauty. A tarred alternative is the Langkloof to Kareedouw drive, which twists and turns along the foot of the Tsitsikamma Mountain range. The Langkloof includes a fruit route, which takes in a number of fruit farms and packing sheds.
Possibly the best reason to linger in Uniondale is planning your outward journey: The N9 takes you via Graaff-Reinet to Nieu-Bethesda and the unique Owl House; Prince Alfred’s Pass takes you down to Plettenberg Bay and Knysna on the Garden Route and if these don’t do it for you, then the R62 takes you to Port Elizabeth.