The south-western corner of the Overberg district is a jewel that for centuries was isolated from the rest of the Western Cape. Dutch colonists crossed the Hottentots Holland mountains near the modern Sir Lowry’s Pass and moved onwards “over the mountains” to the east, bypassing the jumble of forbidding mountains and deep valleys to the south.
For many, many years this forgotten corner harboured lonely cattle herders and “drosters”, outlaws, runaway slaves and the remnants of tribes of indigenous Khoekhoen.
This was the Cape’s “badlands”, known only to a few intrepid botanical explorers or romantics with visions of riches to be gained from prospecting or fishing. Not until the 1800’s did tentative holiday makers discover the delights of Sandown Bay and the Palmiet River, and it was decades later that the first town, Kleinmond, was established.
For more than a century visitors saw the area as just a summer holiday place, a place of sandy beaches, sunshine, angling and river spots. Slowly – almost too slowly, some might say – a conservation ethic dawned. “Fynbos” – a word almost unknown to ordinary people until the 1980’s – because an important new focus for conservationists and visitor alike, as persistent efforts of a few brought a wider appreciation of the fantastic floral wealth cradled in this extraordinary corner of Africa.
Until recently Betty’s Bay & Kleinmond were separate municipalities, while Pringle Bay and Rooiels fell under the control of district or regional councils. In 1995 local authority was combined under “Hangklip-Kleinmond Municipality”, but in 2000 all local governments structures in South Africa changed, and this area – from Rooiels in the west to Quoin Point in the east – was structured under “Overstrand Municipality”. However you may still encounter notice signs bearing the name “Hangklip-Kleinmond”.
“Homestead”, a simple Cape-style cottage, build in 1860 by the owner Dominee Pieter Kuypers Albertyn at the mouth of the Little Bot River. (The oldest house in Kleinmond). In 1899 Albertyn’s third son, Dominee Johannes Rudolf Albertyn, obtained permission to build a wood and iron house on “Admiralty Ground”, a narrow strip of land above the high water mark, near the Palmiet River mouth.
In 1912 the Rev. Anton Daniël Luchoff, married to one of Albertyn’s daughters, obtained permission to erect his own house next to the Albertyn house at Palmiet. Wood, iron, and also timber and parts of the mast of the Norwegian ship, the Gustav Adolf, wrecked nearby in 1902, were used.
The Toy museum in a private home in Kleinmond – take a trip down memory lane – Koekie de Jager
082 774 3899 93, 2nd Avenue, Kleinmond.
Pringle Bay and Rooiels Biosphere Eco-Centre’s – Pringle Bay & Rooiles – discover the natural wonders of the Kogelberg Biosphere. 028 273 8256 / 028 273 8278
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