Malgas, Cape Overberg

The little town of Malgas, only 30 minutes from Swellendam, is a perfect stopover for exploring the Overberg and the De Hoop Nature Reserve.

Set on the west bank of the Breede River, which supports a significant variety of fish and birds and is one of the largest rivers in the country, the little historical village of Malgas was originally an important inland harbour and tended to be relegated to the back end of beyond - certainly very few South Africans knew of its existence.

Today Malgas is known best as the town with the last surviving hand-driven river pont in operation in the country. The pont, or pontoon, is a link with a bygone era in which Dutch settlers used to build floats that they took with them, if they knew there was a river to cross, on their journey. One can still negotiate the Breede River by pont between the east and west banks at Malgas today.

The area is a nature lover’s paradise, particularly for fishing and bird watching, as the estuary of the Breede River sustains an abundance of fish, including Cob, Spotted Grunter and Garrick, and attracts fish eagles, ospreys, fish owls and kingfishers. Couple this with the serene beauty of the surrounding mountainous and fynbos-rich backdrop and Malgas lives up to its reputation as a peaceful weekend escape.

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