Things To Do in Cape Town CentralMission Station Route
Where? Starts in Cape Town Central, Western Cape.
When? Best during daylight hours.
How? Call Unavailable
How much? Free
Connecting the mission towns of Mamre, Goedverwacht, Wittewater, Papendorp, Ebenhaezer, Wupperthal, Troe-Troe Sending and Rietpoort, the mission station route is a wonderfully different perspective on the Western Cape's West Coast.
These towns were all founded during the 1800s by missionaries and many today's residents descend from slaves, who joined the mission stations once slavery was abolished in 1838. The route in its entirety can take as long as five or six days. Alternatively, take in two or three of the villages as a day trip from Cape Town. Mamre lies between Darling and Atlantis, its historical village on one end of town (follow the signs) around a water mill. The church remains active and the pretty thatched buildings worth a visit.
Goedverwacht and Wittewater lie close to Piketberg. Goedverwacht is the more beautiful of the two, with a series of hikes, organic gardens, accommodation and various annual events making it a popular destination.
Elandskloof lies surrounded by the Koue Bokkeveld Mountains near Citrusdal. The village's residents have, post 1994, won a battle to re-acquire their land, sold by the Dutch Reformed Church, and are busy restoring the town.
Wupperthal lies in the heart of the Cederberg, a beautiful Rhenish mission village that has stood the test of time – its thatched-roofed buildings and church still standing and its streets lined with water furrows. The town's shoemaking factory, where you can pick up a pair of 'vellies' or veldskoene is worth a visit, whilst donkey cart trips, the rooibos tea factory and home-cooked meals are all tourist attractions.
Papendorp and Ebenhaezer are two incredibly beautiful villages, connected by the Olifants River Estuary. Papendorp's estuary is alive with birds, whilst Ebenhaezer's farm gardens and riet houses are a must-see.
If you have a further day or two, add the mission villages of Troe-Troe Sending (at Vanrhynsdorp) and Rietpoort, just outside Bitterfontein.