Birders Breakaway

While the homely settlement of Slangrivier may not seem like much at first glance, digging a little deeper will reveal a truly intriguing history as well as a community of colourful characters, making for a truly enriching experience.

The town was officially established in 1838 when Sir George Grey, Governor of the Cape Colony at the time, awarded land to 20 local men and their families as a token of his gratitude for their loyalty during the Cape Frontier Wars. If indigenous legends are anything to go by, however, Slangrivier has a far more fascinating back story. Apparently the first inhabitants were actually survivors of a shipwreck that ran aground somewhere close to what is now Stilbaai. They made their way along the coastline and after a run-in with one of the farmers of the area, finally settled under a large tree in a relatively secluded inland area. The settlement was originally called ‘Olieboom’, but became Slangrivier somewhere along the line.

These days Slangrivier’s biggest drawcard and most well-known export is its award-winning Christmas choirs, a cultural phenomenon unique to the Western Cape, with the southern Cape and little Karoo being particularly well-represented. Going by names the likes of Newborn Stars and Young Loving Shephards, these gospel choirs boast memberships of between 50 and 100 people – some vocalists and others playing brass instruments. Competition season lasts from January to March and sees an influx of Christmas choirs to the Hessequa region.   

quick facts

Established: 1838

Population: 3 011


Heidelberg Info

Telephone: +27 (0)28 722 1068

contact via email

not to miss

  • Johnique Johannes Nature Park
  • Find out about the famous Christmas Choirs
  • Blue Crane and Cape Fynbos hiking trails
  • Arts & Crafts

useful links



Police: 10111

Municipal Office: +27 (0)28 713 7892

Ambulance: 10177

Clinic: +27 (0)28 722 2522

explore this town

Heidelberg XC Track

Super fun little 3 km circular mountain bike loop in Heidelberg.

Grootvadersbosch Conservancy Trail Network

This MTB trail network showcases the natural diversity of the Langeberg Mountains from lowlands to mountain peaks The purpose built single track includes 4 mountain bike loops and includes 76 fence/river bridges.

Newly Defined & African Pickers

Enjoy a good old treasure hunt at Newly Defined & African Pickers in Heidelberg, Western Cape. This huge showroom boosts an endless variety of modern and retro antiques, collectables, design and lifestyle articles.

Eureka Mills

Eureka Mills uses uses quality local wheat to produce traditional unbleached stoneground flour, which they also use to bake delicious rusks and cookies with.

Biltong Factory

The most popular Biltong shop along the Garden Route, no road trip is complete without stocking up on biltong and droewors at Biltong Factory in Heidelberg, Western Cape.

Fresh Frames & Bags

Fresh Frames, based in Heidelberg in the Western Cape, produce a huge variety of quality, locally made picture frames and bags.