“Beautiful valley”

History of Bonnievale

Province: Western Cape
Coordinates:33°55′39″S 20°6′2″E
Area:27.07 km2
Municipality: Langeberg

A railway stop was constructed between Swellendam and Robertson and it was called “The Vale” The halt became an official railway station in 1917 with the name being changed to Bonnievale. This happened in 1922 when a village management board was elected. The town received municipal status in 1953. 
The name Bonnievale means “Beautiful valley” The name was chosen by Christopher Forrest Rigg in memory of his grandfather’s home in Scotland. Christopher Rigg emigrated to South Africa from Scotland at age 2. His family settled in Barberton where gold was being mined. Christopher joined the mine as a dynamite blaster. He traveled widely around South Africa after he divorced his first wife he remarried Lilian Moon from the Robertson area in 1894 and they settled in 1900. He purchased a farm known as Bosjiesmansdrift. 
In 1898 two farmers had investigated the possibility of getting water from the Breede River for Irrigation and they began excavating, albeit under difficult conditions. Progress was halted at the Olifants Krans and due to financial problems the scheme was abandoned. However, when Christopher Rigg arrived in the area and as an expert in blasting, he committed to the project and work commenced. 
There were difficulties with the small canal becoming blocked but Rigg planned blasting to create a tunnel through the Olifants Krans. Once the tunnel was completed the system worked properly with cement being used for the first time in 1914. Mr.Rigg divided his irrigated land into plots and sold off the land and the village was called Bonnievale
In 1909 the farmers in the valley formed “The Zandrift Irrigation Council. Rigg donated the system in its entirety to the board with the proviso that he could serve on the board
These channels are still operational today. The newspapers at the time called the undertaking the “Greatest feat of engineering by one man in South Africa
Christopher Rigg died and was buried at sea while he was visiting overseas in 1926.

The district is known for wines including muscadel and sherry. Deciduous fruit is also grown here.

The license plate prefix for Bonnievale is CER. Postcodes are 6730 (streets) and 6730 (boxes)

Things to see and do in Bonnievale


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Useful Numbers in Bonnievale

  • Police: 023 616 8060
  • Municipality;023 625 1630
  • Emergencies; 0860 88 1111
  • Traffic department: 023 616 80000
  • Fire: 086088111
  • Water:
  • Electricity:
  • Ambulance:101777
  • Post office; 023 616 2470
  • Library:023 616 8016
  • Closest hospital;   Robertson 023 626 8500
  • Pharmacy;
  • Chris Van zyl hall and: Voortrekker road 023 616 8000
  • Happy Valley hall: New cross street 023 616 8000
  • Happy Valley sports fields:23 616 8000
  • SPCA: Swellendam 028 514 2083
  • Schools:Bonnievale High School-023 616 2160
    Bonnievale Primary School-023 616 2655
    Jakes Gerwel Technical School-023 009 0999
    Pre – Primary School Irena Coetzee-023 616 2893
  • Museum; 78 Hoofstr
  • Tourism office / info; 023 616 3932/ 023 616 3563/023 616 3052- 59 Main St



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