Albertinia – Home of the Aloe
Named in honour of the first Dutch Reformed Minister to serve the community – Johannes Rudolph Albertyn – Albertinia is a tranquil little town located at the foot of the majestic Langeberg Mountain range around 50 km west of Mossel Bay on the Garden Route of South Africa. Laid out on a farm named Grootfontein in 1900, Albertinia received municipality status in 1920 and today is part of the Eden District Municipality of the Western Cape.
Albertinia is often referred to as the ‘home of the aloe’, and visitors will soon see why. The terrain and climate of the area is perfectly suited for the indigenous Cape Aloe (Aloe ferox) which brightens the landscape with its striking orange flowers in the winter months. There are two factories in Albertinia dedicated to the extraction and processing of the juice and gel from the thick, fleshy leaves, which is used in health and skincare products. Visitors are welcome to visit the House of Aloes to view the process and learn more about these indigenous plants and their therapeutic properties which act as a detoxifier, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic and anti-viral, and have been used by traditional healers for centuries.
The rich reserves of red and yellow ochre in the Albertinia area have been mined since 1925 and the town is South Africa’s main source of these valuable pigments which are used as colourants in the manufacture of paint and cement. The area is known for its abundance of thatching reed (Thamnochortus insignis), also referred to as Albertinia thatching reed, which grows naturally in Albertinia’s dune area and is used all over South Africa for roof thatching. The local farming community includes livestock and ostrich farming, as well as cultivation of wheat, fruit and vegetables.
The Klein Karoo Wine Route, which starts in Montagu, ends in Albertinia, and a visit to the Jakkalsvlei Private Cellar is worthwhile. If you’re in Albertinia, be sure to visit the Freyja Stud, located on the farm Bergfontein near the town, to view the stunning Welsh Cobs they breed.