Kleinplasie Living Open-air Museum
Located just outside Worcester in the beautiful Breede River Valley, the Kleinplasie Living Open-air Museum invites visitors to step into the past and experience a way of life that was centuries ago by the early pioneer farmers of the Cape. Each building in this picturesque and tranquil village setting represents an activity or industry relating to agriculture and family life as experienced on Western Cape farms during the time period between 1690 and 1900. What makes Kleinplasie unique is that these industries and activities are carried out on a daily basis (except Sundays), as they would have been done in the past, making it a fascinating interactive experience for visitors.
The blacksmith demonstrates his skills by making a variety of useful items such as iron nails, pot-hangers, candle-stick holders and even old-fashioned hinges. Using stone-ground flour milled at the water-mill, bread is baked in the traditional outdoor wood-fired oven. Tobacco is planted, cured and rolled on the premises of Kleinplasie. Witblitz, the South African version of moonshine, is distilled on the premises and is for sale at the local store, along with all sorts of home-made goodies such as jams, rusks, biscuits, preserves and a variety of arts and crafts that are perfect for gifts. There is also a nursery specializing in indigenous plants.
Depending on the time of day, visitors are likely to see coffee roasting, the milking of cows, the manufacture of soap, candles and jam, as well as the making of the delicious traditional melktert (milk tart) which is served at the tea room. Other seasonal activities include sheep shearing in September, and grape harvesting and pressing in March. Visitors can enjoy a donkey-cart ride and a train ride, as well as some traditional tasty treats at the tea room and restaurant.
One of the Kleinplasie buildings houses a museum exhibiting many interesting agricultural items, as well as how these have developed over various time periods as technology advanced and became more sophisticated, and people became more innovative. Certainly, visitors either leave Kleinplasie with renewed appreciation for the modern conveniences most of us have at our fingertips, or with a feeling of nostalgia, and maybe even a longing, for a time when life was a lot simpler.