Avontuur and Haarlem

History of Lageberg area, rock paintings, wheat farming and apple farming.



History of Avontuur and Haarlem

Province: Western Cape
Garden route
Coordinates: 33.725°S 23.169°E

The lush fertile Langkloof has been home to people for millennia. First, the San inhabited the area. There are rock paintings to be found in caves in the mountains. These people were displaced by livestock farmers from further north before European settlers arrived in the Cape.
Simon van der Stel of ‘The Dutch East India Company’ sent a contingent of 21 men, led by Isaac Schrijver from the Cape to the Langkloof to search for the Khoi Tribe in order to trade with them.
Haarlem was established on the farm Welgelegen. The farm and surrounds were transferred to G.E Heyns and J.C Taute in 1844 and in 1856 a township for “whites” was laid out on the farm. In 1860 the Welgelegen settlement was bought by the Berlin Missionary Society.
The villages of Haarlem and Avontuur are a short distance apart. Avontuur means adventure in Afrikaans and is close to a river of the same name. Haarlem is named after the town in the Netherlands from which many Dutch settlers came.
In time settlers from elsewhere in Europe arrived, some to work as labourers, some were teachers and skilled people and there were freed slaves. This became an integrated community. Some of the new arrivals leased land for subsistence farming. Low-input agricultural practices are still used, ploughs are horse-drawn and other work is still done by hand in an age-old way
The Long Kloof is Apple Country and Haarlem is the furthest West point to which the old “Apple Express” ran.
Today cows, horses, and donkeys roam the gravel roads freely when they are not in use. In the quiet rural area, you can see clear starry skies undimmed by bright city lights.

The postcode in Avontuur is 6490 and in Haarlem 6467

Things to see in Avontuur and Haarlem

  • Haarlem Mills-Two water-powered mills used for milling wheat. They are unique as they were built in series, thus fed by a single stream water source. The first was built in 1865 and the second in 1885 by Hendrik Beneke. The mills were functioning until the 1930s. Today the mills stand in ruins,  the original wheel is still in place, although there are plans for the wheel to be moved to the George Museum until a suitable place can be built in Haarlem itself.
  • School- Separated from the church by an open area is an old school, in all probability the building that was erected in 1865 served temporarily as a church. It is rectangular with later additions at right angles it has pointed windows and door. The floors are of Yellowwood, but the flat ceiling is a later alteration as the original building had open rafters
  • Prince Alfred’s pass


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Useful Numbers

  • Municipality -Eden District Municipality: 044 805 5071
  • Municipality (Uniondale): 044 752 1024- (after hours): 044 801 6300
  • Police: 044 752 6600
  • Traffic department: Municipal: 044 801 6300- Provincial: 044 805 5071
  • Fire: George Mun: 044 801 6300
  • Ambulance: 10177
  • Post office; Post agency Avontuur 044 752 3011
  • Library: Mini library 044 752 3351
  • Closest hospital; (Uniondale): 044 752 1068
  • Clinic (Uniondale): 044 752 1138
  • SPCA: Garden Route SPCA-044 693 0824
  • Schools;Haarlem Secondary School-044 763 1019
    Avontuur LB Primary School-: 044 752 3351
  • Tourism 044 752 1076 (Rico Classen)



Local Listings