Riversdale, Garden Route

The lovely country accommodation in Riversdale lies at the foot of the Langeberg Mountains, close to the towns of Still Bay and Witsand.

Mountains feature predominantly in the village’s appeal and the well-loved Sleeping Beauty mountain peak provides a distinctive backdrop to the bustling little town, whose main industry is still farming - wheat, cattle, ostriches, wild flowers and honeybush tea. Riversdale is perhaps best known for her abundance of indigenous fynbos. During the winter months, the mountains and surrounding areas are an array of rainbow floral displays, which have earned the town recognition as the Floral Paradise of the Garden Route.

Proteas and Ericas are harvested for export and Riversdale hosts a popular flower show every September. Entering Riversdale at this time of year, one is immediately aware of a rather pungent odour attributable to the smelly Agathosma, one of the strains of buchu that grows wild here. Originally used by the San as a relief for stomach complaints, buchu has earned a reputation for treating kidney and urinary tract diseases, relieving rheumatism and minor digestive disturbances. It has become a popular export product from South Africa.

In the same vein, honeybush, indigenous to the area around Riversdale, has become a rather lucrative export. A couple of honeybush farmers are on the Eden Country Routes - mapped routes that allow one to visit and experience South African farms and country life. There are also a number of hikes and walks that take you through this floral kingdom, including forests, mountain pools, waterfalls and Khoi San rock drawings.

The mountains provide a number of activities for the more energetic traveller, such as hang gliding, 4x4 trails, mountain biking and abseiling, whilst the Korentepoort Dam, nestled between the mountain and the pine forests, is a beautiful spot for picnics and watersports such as windsurfing, fishing and canoeing.

Riversdale has a rich cultural heritage and is blessed with a number of historical landmarks. The Julius Gordon Africana Centre houses an art and antique collection and the paintings by Thomas Bowler. CJ Langenhoven, known as the father of the Afrikaans language, spent the last two years of his school life in Riversdale. He wrote the poem used for ‘Die Stem’, South Africa’s apartheid era national anthem. Today it has been incorporated into the last two verses of Nkosi Sikelel’iAfrika - representing two sides of a divided country now united.

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