Enjoy the Therapeutic Springs of Caledon
Set in picturesque surroundings in the Overberg region of the Western Cape, the town of Caledon is located on the N2 national road around 100 kilometers east of Cape Town, making it an ideal getaway spot for visitors from the Mother City. Originally known in Dutch as Bad agter de Berg, meaning Bath Behind the Mountain, and later named Klein Zwarteberg before being renamed Caledon in honor of a Governor of the Cape Du Pré Alexander, 2nd Earl of Caledon, the therapeutic mineral springs nearby – six hot and one cold – are thought to be the main reason behind the establishment of the town.
Centuries before the Dutch stumbled upon this natural treasure in 1694, local Khoikhoi had been using the mineral springs for the curative properties of it iron-rich waters. The first European settler to cash in on the hot springs was reportedly Ferdinandes Appel who built a guest house at one of the springs allowing guests easy access to the therapeutic waters. In 1805, Dr Haezsner settled in the town, and constructed clinic buildings where he helped many people find relief from their health problems by means of hot water therapy from the natural springs.
In 1813 the Dutch Reformed Church was built and the town established, at which time it was renamed Caledon, receiving municipal status in 1840. Following Dr Haezsner’s death in 1821, the hot springs lost some of their appeal for visitors, but in 1897, the Walsh family bought the springs and turned it into a health clinic which earned an international reputation. Following a fire in 1946 which razed the clinic, the hot springs were once again not promoted commercially for some time. But today the Caledon Spa and Casino is an attraction with international appeal.
When in Caledon be sure to visit the Caledon Wild Flower Garden, also known as the Venster Kloof Nature Garden, which is particularly spectacular in September each year as spring flowers are in bloom. There’s a network of well-maintained pathways to walk along, offering access to the different parts of the garden which includes a beautiful dam. Shaded resting spots are found along the way for walkers to relax and enjoy the tranquility. From different vantage point in the garden, visitors can enjoy a view of the town and views of the spectacular surrounding Swartberg. In spring, visitors are assured of a kaleidoscope of vibrant colours from the indigenous flowers growing there. The Caledon Blue Crane Route offers visitors the opportunity to view South Africa’s national bird in its natural surroundings. Certainly, Caledon has much to offer visitors who appreciate nature at its best.