History

Province: Western Cape
Garden route
Coordinates:34°02′33″S 22°13′53″E
Area:22.06 km2
Municipality­ – Mossel Bay

Great Brak River was founded in 1859 by the Searle family who came from Surrey in England. Richard Searle came to the area in 1850 to work for the Central Road Board. Richard’s brother Charles and his wife became toll keepers for private contractors in the 1800s. They established shopping, accommodation, shoe-making, and timber businesses in the village. In 1905, Charles Searle successfully installed a waterwheel, producing electricity in the village a full 15 years before George and Mossel Bay had electricity.

During the First and Second Boer Wars, the Searle factory supplied high-quality boots, saddles, and outfits for soldiers. The factory’s rapid growth coincided with the Second Boer War, Searl’s became the leading leather works factory in South Africa from the 1890s to 1920.

Great Brak River was an important crossing point for travellers heading east. There was a good bridge over the river at the town. Today Great Brak River is predominantly a holiday destination with beautiful beaches and a lagoon. There are some lovely examples of 19th-century buildings some dating from 1852 are still standing. There is quite a lot to see in the town including the power station which was built in the early 1900s. The main employer in the area is the 250-year-old shoe factory,now named Bolton Footwear.

The beautiful, unspoiled beaches in the area, and the lagoon, offer safe swimming.  Southern Right and other whales that make an appearance from May till November are one of the town’s main attractions.

Postal codes for Groot Brak River are (streets) 6525. and 6525. (Boxes)

WEATHER IN GROOT BRAK RIVER TODAY

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Things to see and do in Great Brak River:

  • Botlierskop Private Game Reserve
  • Wolwedans dam road
  • Local history museum
  • Lights and lanterns festival, see hundreds of candles floating on the river  082 738 8011
  • Hydro Power Station Wolwedans dam ( Info Museum )
  • The largest known Pepper Tree in South Africa (11,2 m in diameter)
  • The Muse Festival, held in September. Art and music fest.
  • There are some great hiking trails in the area- 103 Steps Walk,- Vleiland & Nature Walk,- History Walk, – Pepper Tree Walk,-  The Southern Cross. –   Walk, The Island Walk and The Circle Walk. ContactGreat Brak River Tourism-: 044 620 3338 (from 9h00 – 16h00)
  • Labyrinth at the 103 steps garden
  • Gagasa Ra Uru Kai Oab  (Spirit of the healing wind) labyrinth 072 877 7798
  • Voetpadhoogte road
  • Southern Cross pass
  • Great Brak street art route  083
  • Bolton shoe factory shop 1 Station Road 044 620 3453

Useful Numbers

  • Police: 044 620 3361 / 10111
  • Traffic department: George Traffic Department-044 878 2400
  • Fire: 044 606 5000
  • Water: 044 606 5262
  • Electricity:044 606 5082
  • Ambulance: 10177
  • Post office;044 620 2201
  • Library:044 606 5283
  • Closest hospital;Mossel Bay Hospital-044 691 2011
  • Groot Brak Medical Centre  044 008 5025 Emergency: 078 392 6909
  • Clinic-044 620 2288
  • Pharmacy;Groot Brakrivier Clinic Pharmacy-044 620 2288
  • SPCA:CAWS 4 PAWS-044 620 2826
  • NSRI – 082 990 5954
  • Schools; Great Brak Primary School/Laerskool-044 620 2541
  • Museum-044 620 3338
  • Grootbrak Buurtwag – 065 930 2771
  • Tourism – 044 620 2550 / 0)44 620 3338

Local Listings