A fascinating new self-guided tour has been launched in the town of Piketberg in the Western Cape, which takes visitors on a journey back in time to experience the rich history and historic buildings of this beautiful village.
The Piketberg Historical Route takes visitors to the myriad of historical buildings dotted throughout the town which date back as far as the 1880s and is a wonderful outing for young and old.
About the route
Start your tour at the Piketberg Tourism offices at the Winkelshoek Complex, just off the N7 highway where you can collect a map of the Historical Route and find out all you need to know for your visit. While you are there, be sure to grab a fresh traditional Roosterkoek and coffee to fuel up for the route ahead.
From there you will make your way to the impressive Neo-Gothic Dutch-Reformed Church, which was built in 1882. The town developed around the church building, being one of the first buildings in the village and the architect and builder was Carl Otto Hager, a well-known church architect of the time. He also drew the plans for the old Lutheran church and the rebuilding of the Mother Church, both in Stellenbosch, as well as several other churches erected in the second half of the 1800s.
The church was built with Table Mountain sandstone, excavated in the mountain to the west of Piketberg. Members of the congregation transported the building blocks to the site as well as other building materials to help keep the cost down.
Just over the road from the Church lies points two and three of the tour – number 5 Kerk Straat which was built in 1906 as business premises, and the Commercial Hotel, which was built in 1898.
Both buildings boast beautiful cast-iron balustrades and ‘broekie lace’ – in keeping with the period in which they were built. The commercial hotel still features furniture which was shipped to South Africa from England and delivered to Piketberg by ox-wagon. The hotel has a captivating history that includes being accommodation for soldiers during the Anglo-Boer War.
Proceeding from here, and all accessible by foot, visitors can visit the old Sheriff’s Office and original Police Station which were both built in 1926, as well as the original Bioscope built in the early 1920s. Not far from here lies the Piketberg Museum, which is made up of an original homestead as well as the former Jewish synagogue. The museum houses an award-winning display of historic items that serve to further transport one back in time to a bygone era – highlighting the lifestyles of the early inhabitants of the town.
The Piketberg Historical Route stops in at a variety of other locations, including the historic cemetery, which offers great insights into the families and people that came before, and who made the town what it is today. In total the route has 12 points of interest and visitors can walk or drive to each at their leisure.
Where to eat
Time travel is hungry work. The good news for visitors is that Piketberg offers a wide selection of eateries to cater to all tastes. From a large franchise steakhouse to quaint coffee shops, cafés, and restaurants – such as Bravo Wine & Food – all serving up a smorgasbord of sweet and savoury offerings.
For wine lovers, a visit to Org-de-Rac, the local organic winery, to sample the fruits of the local vineyards is highly recommended. Sipping the Estates delicious wines while watching the sunset from the beautifully elevated position is a perfect way to round out a day in Piketberg, and the wine and cheese pairing of the offer, as well as the fresh oysters and MCC, are highly recommended.
Where to stay
Piketberg offers an array of accommodation options to suit all tastes and budgets. From self-catering accommodation such as @1926 – a charming option in the heart of historic Piketberg – to guest houses and bed & breakfast establishments. It is highly recommended that you overnight in the area as there is so much to see and do that visitors can easily fill a weekend-long itinerary.
‘Piketberg, which is named after the impressive mountain that it clings to, is located in the Bergrivier municipal area – less than two hours from Cape Town on the N7 highway and nestles at the foot of the Piketberg Mountain range, surrounded by a tapestry of wheat fields, vineyards, fruit farms, and indigenous fynbos,’ explains Nomonde Ndlangisa, CEO of Bergrivier Tourism.
‘Visitors frequent Piketberg to enjoy – amongst many other things – the stunning natural surrounds, the abundant outdoor activities, good food, good wine, and warm country hospitality. Bergrivier Tourism wanted to create an additional drawcard which allows us to portray the rich history and heritage of this beautiful town that is so easily accessible from Cape Town.’
‘The Piketberg Historical Route promises to deliver the best of Piketberg to visitors, who – in addition to the exciting new tour – can stay on for longer to enjoy everything else that the town offers,’ says Ndlangisa. ‘There is a wealth of activities to add to your itinerary while staying in Piketberg – such as fishing, hiking, mountain biking, bird watching, wine-tasting, hang gliding, and paragliding. Alternatively, you can opt to relax and enjoy the natural beauty surrounding you – indigenous fynbos, rock formations, beautiful sunsets, and night skies which, unaffected by light pollution, offer a phenomenal star display.’
Contact Piketberg Tourism on 022 913 2063 /email [email protected].
Be sure to enter the competition where you can win a jam-packed day, including one night stay, in Piketberg for two people to experience the Piketberg Historical Route tour.