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Located in a semi-arid region in the Western Cape and sandwiched between 2 mountain ranges, Ladismith is an exquisite little town, the buildings made up of a variety of architectural styles, giving the place a unique character.
Ladismith was named after the wife of British Governor Harry Smith during its formation in 1852. To show her gratitude, she sent the townsfolk £10 and a Bible. Many years later, the spelling of the name was changed to Ladismith to avoid confusion with a town further north previously named Ladysmith.
There are a host of spectacularly engineered passes in and around Ladismith, the most notable being the Seweweekspoort Pass that summits near to the Seweweekspoort peak, the highest in the Western Cape at 2.3km above sea level.
For an escape from city life simply to breathe in clean air, clear the mind and relax under big skies, Ladismith is the perfect destination.
Top 6 reasons to visit Ladismith
1. Ladismith is on Route 62, the world’s longest wine route. Stop in at Ladismith Cellar to sample the various varietals from Pinotage to Chardonnay as well as a pot still brandy. Ladismith Cellar is part of the Southern Cape Vineyards group of winemakers.
2. The town is renowned for the Ladismith Cheese factory and their products can be purchased through retail outlets in the town. Try the Ladismither cheese, a creamy cheese that is doing remarkably well at the tills.
3. The 7weespoort MTB Challenge is a tough mountain bike race that takes place annually in early spring. The 82km race begins in the nearby mission town of Amalienstein and reaches a height of over 1km at the 25km mark before heading downhill to the finish line in Oudtshoorn.
4. Visit Towerkop Nature Reserve to appreciate the distinctive fynbos fauna and small mammals that frequent the reserve. Toorkop (enchanted peak) is a popular mountain climbing site. Both sides of the peak are rated E and F, only to be attempted by experienced climbers.
5. Hike up Elandsberg to see Stanley's Light, a contraption created by a local resident to mark the site of a pretty stream. The light is powered by water and has only failed twice since it was created way back in 1963, both failures caused by drought.
6. A scenic trip worth taking is to the Hoeko Valley where deciduous fruits are grown. The tiny hamlet, situated in the shadows of the Swartberg Mountains, has 2 national monuments and is the home of the poet responsible for the composition of part of the national anthem.
Ladismith can be reached either from the Cape Town International Airport, 325km away, or the George Domestic Airport, 160km away. Car rental agencies are located in Cape Town, Oudtshoorn and at the airports, otherwise order a rental online and collect at a convenient location. There are no trains and bus services into and out of Ladismith, hiring a car is your best option.
Did you know?
The intricate wrought iron adornments on many of the town’s Victorian buildings are known in South Africa as broekie lace (panty lace).
The old toll house ruin on the Seweweekspoort Pass is said to be haunted by a toll keeper. Several motorists have reported being flagged down on rainy nights, only to discover that the figure has disappeared as quickly as he had been seen.