History of Calitzdorp

Province: Western Cape
Klein Karoo
Coordinates:33°32′15″S 21°41′07″E
Area:26.33 km2
Municipality: Kannaland

The farm Buffelsvlei in the valley where Calitzdorp was built was originally a lake. The alluvial soil is fertile and agriculture thrives on both sides of the river. There are numerous rock paintings to be seen in the area which are evidence of early San and Khoi inhabitants.

The land was granted to JJ and MC Calitz in 1821. They donated a piece of their farm on which a church and school were built. The church was needed because Oudtshoorn was a long way away for farmers to attend the monthly nagmaal (church service) The first services were held under a tree and the church was built only in1857.  By 1910 larger buildings were needed and these were completed in 1912. Calitzdorp was awarded municipal status in 1913 The church is a good example of the local sandstone architecture of the “ostrich era” It was declared a national monument in 1991. Other important buildings in Calitzdorp include the Standard Bank, which currently houses the museum.

Crops that are grown apart from grapes are lucerne, grains, and tobacco. Crops are irrigated from the Calitzdorp dam. the Calitzdorp dam wall was the first dam wall in South Africa to be built of cement.

Calitzdorp is the Port Wine capital of South Africa.  Take a walk down Queens Street, there are fine examples of Edwardian and Victorian architecture, including the lovely red stone church.  The three cellars on the wine route are Boplaas, Die Krans and the Co-op cellar, which all produce red, white and dessert wines.

The railway line reached Calitzdorp in 1924 bringing economic hope. Calitzdorp was electrified in 1937. The R 62 that was built in 1978 put Calitzdorp firmly on the map and in spite of its extreme weather (droughts and floods), many tourists visit to enjoy some of the finest port wine.

The postal code for Calitzdorp is 6660



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Things to do and see in Calitzdorp

  • -Boplaas Winery and distillery
  • Assegaaibosch pass
  • Coetzee’s poort
  • The town hosts South Africa’s only succulent festival (Vetplant fees) annually in September 076 298 7337
  • Doornkloof pass
  • Redstone MTB challenge
  • Uncorked trail run
  • Historical walk, see PDF here
  • Calitzdorp Port wine festival
  • De Krans Blossom Festival-August/September. Celebrating Spring blossoms symbolizes the start of a new year for the fruit and wine industry 044 – 213 3314/64
  • Read about the geology of Calitzdorp and surrounds

Useful Numbers in Calitzdorp

  • Police: 044 213 8800
  • Municipality:028 551 1023 32 Church St Ladismith
  • Traffic department: 044 213 3312
  • Fire: 028 551 1023 / 8000
  • Water:028 551 8000 or 083 301 6641
  • Electricity:028 551 8000 or 083 301 6641 / 073 087 7304
  • Ambulance: 10177
  • Post office; 044 213 3727
  • Library: 044 213 3393
  • Closest hospital; clinic 044 213 3623
  • Pharmacy; Spar pharmacy 044 213 3038
  • SPCA: Garden route SPCA 044 693 0824
  • Tourism: 0442133775 http://www.calitzdorp.org.za/about-calitzdorp
  • Schools:Calitzdorp high 044 213 3313
    Kruis rivier 0442133075
  • Museum; 072 221 7171                           [/vc_column_text]

Local Listings