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Ladismith - www.ladismith.org.za

Ladismith (550m) nestles at the foot of the Klein Swartberg mountain range in the Klein Karoo. Situated on Route 62, it is linked by tarred main roads to all major centres, including Cape Town (320km), Oudtshoorn (100km), Montagu (139km), George (160km), Mossel Bay (185km) and Port Elizabeth (420km).

Ladismith  is one of the four towns which falls under the municipal name called Kannaland. Kannaland is divided into Van Wyksdorp (www.vanwyksdorp.com), Ladismith, Zoar/Amalienstein and Calitzdorp(www.calitzdorp.org.za

An impressive mountain peak called Towerkop (2198m) looms above Ladismith. Local legend has it that a witch, flying overhead, struck the peak in anger with her wand because it obstructed her passage over the mountain. Her anger resulted in Towerkop's unique appearance - the peak is split in two. 

Halfway up Elandsberg (2128m) you'll find a famous landmark, sometimes referred to as Ladismith's extra star in the galaxy: Stanley's Light (1500m). Erected in 1963 by Stanley de Wit, an inhabitant of the town, it consisted of a bicycle lamp and dynamo being powered by a waterstream. An indication of the availability of water for the surrounding farms and the town itself was hereby established.

A wide variety of scenic routes are accessible from Ladismith. If one travels east through the beautiful Hoeko Valley, breathtaking views of orchards in the spring and autumn can be experienced. Turning into Seweweekspoort - a gorge running through the mountain, spectacular rock formations can be seen as the road follows the winding riverbed for 21km through the mountain and emerges in the Great Karoo.Travelling west of Ladismith one can visit the picturesque valleys, with the orchards, vineyards and old farmhouses of Dwarsrivier, Voorbaat and Van Zylsdamme. 

It serves an extensive farming area with ideal climate for the production of apricots, peaches, plums, nectarines, figs, pomegranates, olives and grapes. Approximately 30% of the total apricot export market comes from the district . There are two cheese factories as well as a winery.

Ladismith is unique in the sense that is has its own individual building style. The so-called Ladismith style is a simplified Georgian design and dates from the 1830's. Several other architectural styles, i.e. Neo-Gothic, Georgian, Victorian, Regency, Lithuanian, Edwardian, Cape Revival and Rural (Karoo) style, can also be found.

Approximately 180 species of birds have been spotted.  Vegetation is widely varied and ranges from fynbos in the mountain to karoo broken veld, spekboom and succulent karoo on the koppies and plains.  The fynbos includes the rare Protea aristata and Protea pruinosa.  Another endemic shrub to the Klein Karoo is the beautiful Nymania capensis or "Klapperbos".

Calitzdorp - www.calitzdorp.org.za 

Just 45 minutes from Vanwyksdorp on the quiet and scenic Rooiberg Pass, lies Calitzdorp, gateway to the Garden Route.At the very heart of the Klein Karoo's unique attractions, including the majestic Swartberg mountains, the Cango Caves, a renowned World Heritage site, the stunning mountain passes and indigenous African flora and fauna, Calitzdorp is ideally situated within a couple of hours driving time of all that is special in the region.Also known as the "Port Wine Capital" of South Africa, Calitzdorp is the fruit bowl of the Klein Karoo and the ideal stopover for travellers wishing to enjoy all that the region has to offer.Naturally, this enjoyment starts with the seven wine cellars, famous for their Port wines that regularly win top local and international accolades.

The area is also renowned for its indigenous flora, especially the 500 species of succulents, 200 of which are found nowhere else on earth.  And not least, the stunning sunsets and glorious Karoo night sky with its billions of stars, totally unsullied by the city's smog, will live long in your memory.Calitzdorp is also known for beautiful gardens featuring splendid Bougainvillea and the wide variety of special architectural styles of the village houses which date from the founding of the village in 1821. The Dutch Reformed Church, a national monument, was originally built in 1857 and holds a magnificent organ, large even by European standards, where free classical music recitals can be enjoyed every week from Monday to Sunday.

With a population of 8400, Calitzdorp's economy is driven by Port and wine making, ostrich and fruit farming and tourism. Overnight visitors may choose from a wide selection of accommodation;  from backpackers to budget B&B to five star country house, 31 in all, and no less than 6 restaurants serving a variety of food, from take-away to country-style haute cuisine.One night is too rushed;  you'll need a week to take it all in.

Van Wyksdorp Institute Van Wyksdorp Institute

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