The little town of Calitzdorp is in the heart of the Klein Karoo's world class attractions. It is only four hours from Cape Town and ideally situated on Route 62
The towns of Calitzdorp, Ladismith, Zoar and VanWyksdorp make up the municipal area called Kannaland. Kannaland was named after the kanna plant (Sceletium tortuosum) known as nature's Prozac. The kanna plant has been used by South Africans as a mood-altering substance since prehistoric times. The first known written account of the plant's use was in 1662 by Jan van Riebeeck. The traditionally prepared dried Sceletium was often chewed and the saliva swallowed, but it has also been made into gel caps, teas and tinctures. It is also used as a snuff or smoked and it is legal.
The fertile Calitzdorp valley was originally a large lake. The soil is mainly alluvial (loose, unconsolidated soil or sediments) and agricultural crops are grown for about 1km on either side of the Nel’s and Gamka (lion in Khoi) rivers.
There is evidence of the presence of early San and Khoi people in the numerous rock paintings found in the surrounding mountains. Early writings show that the Khoi called Kannaland ‘the valley with no grass’.
There are many "must sees" to be visited within easy driving distance of your luxury accommodation in Calitzdorp. For energetic guests mountain bikes are available for hire in the village, as well a number of walking trails of varying distances and degrees of difficulty. For the adventurous there are a number of 4x4 routes in the area.
The Klein Karoo is an important sub-region of the World Heritage site known as the Cape Floral Kingdom. Klein Karoo means ‘little desert’, an arid region that is interrupted every forty or fifty kilometers by fertile valleys fed by mountain streams that enable orchards and vineyards to flourish. Indeed, Route 62, the main highway traversing this fascinating land, is famed as the longest wine route in the world.
The Klein Karoo has a spectacular landscape fashioned hundreds of millions ago of years ago by water and geological upheaval. Its flora ranges from lush greenery in the river valleys to ground-hugging, hardy Karoo plants in the open veldt, including the largest number of succulents on earth.
The region’s astonishing geological shapes and formations are home to the famed Cango Caves, a series of spectacular caverns fashioned over millennia by the seepage of water through porous limestone rock. At night, the Klein Karoo skies provide a stunning display of light virtually unknown to dwellers in the Big Smoke, including the Southern Cross, Orion and the awesome Milky Way in its infinite magnificence. Some say the Klein Karoo credibly challenges Montana as ‘big sky’ country.
Calitzdorp is located between two World Heritage sites in the heart of the Klein Karoo and is known as the Port Wine Capital of South Africa or the Fruit Basket of the Klein Karoo.
It is ideally situated for visits to all the cultural, environmental and simply breathtaking sites of the region. Take full advantage of its position to plan exciting, entertaining and educational sightseeing opportunities in the Klein Karoo.
Calitzdorp is the proud holder of the title ‘Port Wine Capital of South Africa’.
It has eight cellars specialising in Port that hold their own against the best Portugal has to offer. They regularly sweep the top International and South African awards.Many visitors are not aware that the town’s winemakers are also responsible for some excellent single-cultivar and innovative blended red and white wines at refreshingly moderate prices.
Of the eight, three cellars have Bistros and are open to visitors year round for tastings and tours of their wineries. Other cellars are open seasonally or on request, please ask us if assistance is required.
Brandy, whisky, liqueurs and craft beer are also available at some cellars.
Other than visiting the wine cellars, a walk through historic Calitzdorp is well worth while.
Wander down to the Tourist Office at the Engen garage to collect a free brochure that will guide you through the architectural history of Calitzdorp, take a stroll through the village and enjoy the well-preserved examples of Georgian, Karoo and Victorian houses with their splendid gardens.
The Dutch Reformed Church, pride of the main street, is a national monument. Another place of worship that also deserves a look is the tiny chapel down Queen Street from the big church. It is reputed to be the second smallest Anglican chapel in the world and has recently been painstakingly restored.
Enjoy lunch at one of the ‘big three’ Cellars (Boplaas, de Krans and Calitzdorp Cellars) or one of the restaurants; Porto Deli, Zamani Grill, Die Handelshuis, Die Dorpshuis or Ebenhart’s. Ebenhart’s boasts fine examples of Bonsai in a wonderfully cool garden. Ebenhart himself is known far and wide as South Africa’s only hand crafted pipe maker. Even if you hate tobacco, you are likely to appreciate the art he puts into his original designs – well worth a look.
Further down Queen Street, past the side of the church, is the Route 62 art gallery where amongst others, the talented Marinda Combrinck shows some of her fine art that has been on exhibition in Houston, Texas.
Viewing the Red Stone Hills is a must! They are most spectacular in the morning with the sun shining on them. From Calitzdorp, take the R62 toward Oudtshoorn and then turn off to the left after 14 km at the ‘Kruisrivier’ sign. This puts you on a good dirt road to see the beautiful and unique rock formations known as the Redstone Hills. The best viewing is for the few kilometres between the two concrete bridges.
These Enon Conglomerate deposits were dumped up against the mountains by the sea some 125 million years ago. They are spectacular!
Accommodation includes a full English breakfast.
Note that 24 hours notice is required for dinner bookings. Please let us know if you have any allergies or dislikes.
Our comprehensive wine list includes the best of the wines from Calitzdorp’s Wine Farms - the perfect accompaniment to your meal.
Calitzdorp Country House
PO Box 299
6660 South Africa
+27 (0)44 213 3760 / 082 073 7709
+27 (0)44 213 3760
Unexpected Perfection! The most fantastic boutique hotel. Only wish that we could stay for longer.
from Trip Advisor