The colours of Calvinia

Posted on 26 June 2015

Calvinia is small. It’s a dusty town ringed by copper mountains and creaky windmills. Once a year, its weathered face blossoms with colour as spring flowers and flurried visitors take over. But what’s it like during the rest of the year? We sent Online Editor Kati Auld to go find out. Teagan Cunniffe snapped the pics.

Also read: A guide to Calvinia


For the last hundred kilometres, I’ve only seen straight lines and crows. The R27 cuts through the brown corduroy of a late summer Karoo with no meandering. So when the Hantam mountains rear up above my dashboard, it’s not surprising that they too are straight, a second horizon above the first. The town is surrounded on all sides, fitting into the mountains like a nail in a horseshoe. In Calvinia, you are very, very small. A local tells me that she stays here because in the mountains she can hear the voices of the gods. -Kati Auld


Read her story about the real characters and colours of Calvinia in the July 2015 issue of Getaway Magazine.


Photo by Teagan Cunniffe

Crisp blue skies mark the days. (Photographers, bring your polarising filter!).

Photo by Teagan Cunniffe

After finding this windmill on one of the oldest farms around Calvinia, I decided to stay for sunset, watching the land turn from burnt orange to dusky pink.

Photo by Teagan Cunniffe

The dry ground throws up dust at the slightest disturbance, so when this horse decided to roll, a plume of dirt haloed around it.

Photo by Teagan Cunniffe

The restaurant at Hantam Huis, and the Calvinia Museum are both worth a visit.

Photo by Teagan Cunniffe

Friendly dogs and their people are found throughout the town. On the outskirts, Owl’s Nest olive grove flourishes under the white sunlight.

Photo by Teagan Cunniffe

Back at the windmill – but this time for sunrise.


This article first appeared in the July 2015 issue of Getaway magazine.

Get this issue →

For the full story and guide to visiting Calvinia, pick up a copy of the July issue where you’ll also find other great travel ideas: canoe the Orange River, beach it up on the Seychelles for R400pppn and learn to ski in the Alps for under R20000, including lessons, gear hire, flights and accommodation.


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