Piketberg – Escape the Rat Race
Piketberg lies in the foothills of the Piketberg Mountains in the heart of Western Cape’s Swartland. Just an hour’s drive from Cape Town, this charming town offers city-dwellers a break from the hustle and bustle of modern living.
The striking Piketberg Mountains are formed from Table Mountain Sandstone, rising up from an otherwise fairly flat landscape. The area at the base of the mountains and around the town of Piketberg is suited to the farming of wheat and canola, as is evidenced by the seemingly endless fields of golden-colored wheat and yellow flowering canola. The Versveld Pass of the Piketberg Mountains leads visitors past farms that produce apples, pears, peaches and oranges, as well as South Africa’s renowned herbal tea, Rooibos.
The Piketburg area was originally inhabited by the San and the Khoikhoi prior to the establishment of Piketberg in 1836, and the Piketberg Mountains have some superb examples of San rock art. In the early days of Piketberg a cannon on top of the mountain was fired to let farmers know when ships had entered the Cape harbor, so that they could take their produce through for sale. It was also used to signal danger. The original cannon now stands in front of the Piketberg High School. The Piketberg Museum houses a collection of interesting historical items as well as an exhibition relating to the role that Piketberg played in the Anglo Boer war.
As with many small towns throughout South Africa, the Dutch Reformed Church is a dominant feature of Piketberg. The well preserved 19th century neo-Gothic style church was designed by German-born architect, Carl Otto Hager (1813-1898), who is credited with designing a great number of landmark buildings found throughout the Western Cape.
There are a host of activities to enjoy when visiting Piketberg, including horse riding, hiking, bird watching, 4X4 trails, golf, tennis, mini-golf, sky diving, paragliding, canoeing, mountain biking, fishing, wine tasting and farm tours. Accommodation options include a number of B&Bs, self catering cottages and camping sites. Dunn’s Castle, which was designed by Sir Herbert Baker for George Dunn and built in the late 1890s, offers visitors warm South African hospitality in a Victorian-style setting with an exceptional view of the entire Swartland area. Why not take a break from the rat-race, and visit Piketberg soon!