Visit heritage sites in Tulbagh

History of Tulbagh

Province: Western Cape
Coordinates: 33°17′6″S 19°8′16″E
Area:3.81 km2
Municipality: Witzenberg

Tulbagh is the commercial and administrative centre for the Witzenberg district. The basin has been inhabited for thousands of years by indigenous Bushmen and Khoi peoples. 

Dutch and Huguenot settlers

In 1699 Dutch and Huguenot settlers were granted land in this area by the Dutch colonial government. The area was known as “Land van Waveren’ after the Oetgens van Waveren family, who were connected to Simon Van Der Stel on his mother’s side. The region was also known as Roodezand but the name of the area was later changed to Tulbagh after Ryk Tulbagh who was a governor at the Cape from 1751 to 1771. Tulbagh gained municipal status in 1861.

Local architecture

As the town developed, the buildings reflected the periods of Cape Dutch, Victorian and Edwardian architecture. Fine examples of these can be seen there today, having been carefully restored since the devastating earthquake in 1969. The Dutch Reformed Church was built in 1743 for the congregation here which called itself  Roodezand. (Red sand)

Vintage picture of the Tulbagh hotel


The economy of Tulbach revolves around agriculture, predominantly fruit and wine. The oldest wine co-op in South Africa is in Tulbagh. Some wheat is also grown. Sheep farming also contributes to the economy. Domestic water is supplied from a spring in the mountainside.

Earthquake 1969

Tulbagh lies directly over a fault in the subterranean rock system in the valley. Tremors have been a regular occurrence. However, none so severe as the quake on 29 September 1969. Many of the historic buildings, were severely damaged by. Soft brick walls and gables crumbled and collapsed. Extensive repair operations were undertaken and Tulbagh now has one of the largest numbers of local heritage sites in South Africa.

The license plate prefix for Tulbagh is CCM and the postal code is 6820


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Things to do and see in Tulbagh

  • Christmas in winter
  • Duikersdrift parkrun . Join us for a free, timed 5km run/walk at 8am every Saturday!  duikersdriftoffice@parkrun.com

  • Take a guided tour with Voice Map

  • Annual wildflower show at Tulbagh Show Grounds held in September. Started in 1887.
  • Explore Tulbagh

  • Boer War Blockhouse near Tulbagh
  • Annual Tulbagh arts festival, a weekend of Art, Music, Food and Wine 079 446 3791




Useful Numbers in Tulbagh

  • Police: 023 230 8100
  • Municipality – 023 316 1854
  • Traffic department: Ceres Traffic Department – 023 316 1997
  • Fire: 023 316 1997/8
  • Water:023 3168547
  • Electricity:023 3168540
  • Ambulance:023 230 1326
  • Post office; 023 230 0001
  • Library:WITZENVILLE PUBLIC LIBRARY – 023 316 1854
  • Closest hospital; Trident Health Centre-076 049 0511
  • Clinic – 023 230 8020
  • Pharmacy; Sunbird MediPharmacy At Spar -023 880 0035
  • SPCA: Wellington – 021 864 3726
  • Schools:
  • Hoërskool Tulbagh – 023 230 1091
  • Lingomso Primary School – 023 230 0012
  • Waveren High School – 0232301002
  • Rijk Tulbagh Private School – 0232302807
  • Museum;
  • Earthquake Museum And Tourism Bureau – 023 230 1348
  • Oude Kerk Volksmuseum – 023 230 1041
  • Tourism– (0)23 230 1348

Local Listings