The agricultural town of Heidelberg is regarded as the gateway to the Garden Route and during your sojourn you will no doubt experience “platteland” lifestyle at its best – with slow organic cooking, long chats and leisurely exploration of the quaint art and craft shops, antique stores, colourful murals and coffee shops.
Nature lovers can immerse themselves in the incredible fynbos, Afromontane forest and renosterveld landscapes while enjoying a guided walk, birding, and an array of hiking and mountain biking trails at Grootvadersbosch Conservancy. For travellers with a deep affection for history and architecture, the popular Heidelberg Historical Walking Route is an experience which should be top of your bucket list.
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Don't Miss Out
- Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve & Glamping Site
- Ou-dag Kolektibles
- Star Nation Art Studio
- Bushbuck Hiking Trail
- Noukrans Bush Camp
- Nona Rosa Bush Camp
- Inspired Creations
- Grootvadersbosch Conservancy & MTB / Hiking Trails
- Hooikraal Tented Camp
- Culla Uys Nature Garden
- Blue Crane Farm Stall
- Skeiding Guest Farm
- Heidelberg Bird Route
- Boosmansbos Wilderness Area
- Strawberry Hill Farm
- Die Skeerhok Padstal (Farm Stall)
- Delish Restaurant
- Die Rooi Pot Restaurant
- Heidelberg Nursery
- Heidelberg Historical Walking Route
- Heidelberg Golf Club
- Heidelberg Bowling Club
- Cape Art and Concrete Products
- FireFly Studio
- Proeviand Restaurant
Situated on the banks of the Duivenhoks River, between the beautiful Langeberg Mountains and warm Indian Ocean, this quiet hamlet and second oldest town in the Hessequa lies in one of the most scenically preserved regions of the Western Cape. The town was established in 1855, forming around the Dutch Reformed church that drew farmers from as far afield as Swellendam and Riversdale. It was named in honour of the German town of Heidelberg, because of the Heidelberg catechism practiced in the church.
While it may have had a particularly pious beginning, there is a lot of humour and a sprinkling of wholesome mischief to be found among the residents who love a good story and are known to indulge in colourful descriptions of the characters and every day happenings of the area. During your sojourn you will no doubt get to experience ‘platteland’ lifestyle at its best – with slow organic cooking, long chats and leisurely exploration of the quaint art galleries, antique stores, hiking trails, MTB trails and coffee shops.
Heidelberg is also the gateway to Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve – one of South Africa’s most well-preserved indigenous forests and home to an array of mountain biking and hiking trails. The Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve is 250 hectares of indigenous forest along the Langeberg Mountain and was declared a World Heritage Site in 2004. The nature reserve is an excellent bird watching-, hiking-, and camping destination, with the spotting of bushbuck, baboons, yellowwood trees, the emperor butterfly and the rate ghost frog as highlights of your visit. The Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve also offers two day hiking trails ranging between 10km-15km and a selection of highly recommended self-catering cabins and luxury camping spots. Adjacent to the Grootvaderbosch Nature Reserve is the Boosmansbos Wilderness Area, which also holds World Heritage Site status. The Boosmansbos area covers various hiking trail and is a popular stop for birding clubs.
The Heidelberg Nature Route will take you through a loop around the dam, providing a relaxing time in nature.
The Culla Uys Nature Garden offers nature lovers the opportunity to relax in nature with an abundance of flora and fauna in the region. The Nature Garden also has outdoor seating areas, which are ideal for bird watchers.
The Gysmanshoek Pass, is an ox-wagon route which is an off-the-beaten-track route, with amazing scenery. It is highly advised that travellers interested in this route, drive a 4×4 vehicle.
The town also boasts with unique farm stays (Skeiding Guest Farm and Hooikraal Tented Campsite) and bush camping (Nona Rosa Bush Camp and Noukrans Bush Camp) facilities which are all tailored towards nature enthusiast. The Grootvaderbosch Conservancy is a compilation of landowners – in the conservancy you’ll find the Grootvadersbosch Mountain Bike Network which consists of six MTB trails. The Grootvadersbosch Conservancy is also home to guest farms like Strawberry Hill Farm, Fleckvieh Guest Farm and Honeywood Farm.
Heidelberg is a popular overnight destination for German visitors as it reminds them of home. The town also has a Historical Walking Route which allows visitors to view all the important historical landmarks within the town. This route includes incredible historical gems like the Dutch Reformed Church, Heidelberg Town Hall, Heidelberg Post Office and the Doornboom Homestead / Fourie House, which dates back to 1728.
The Heidelberg Biltong Factory is also a popular venue when travelling through town as it sells the best tasting biltong along the Garden Route.
The travel and tourism industry is very diverse and travellers in search of unique experiences must visit Star Nation Art Studio, Proeviand Restaurant, Inspired Creations, Die Skeerhok Farm Stall, Delish Restaurant & Wine Shop, Heidelberg Nursery, Cape Art & Concrete, Karee Tree Design, Copper Blue Boutique & Gifts, FireFly Studio, Blue Crane Farm Stall and Die Rooi Pot Restaurant.
Golf is an ever popular sporting code and the 9-hole Heidelberg Golf Course will not disappoint in terms of neatness and views – the course has beautiful views of the Langeberg Mountains. The Heidelberg Bowling Club is next to the Golf Course is also worth visiting when in Heidelberg.
Art in all its forms is a part of life in Heidelberg and the Dasjesdrift Theatre House just outside Heidelberg is a popular venue for performance art and picnic events. The theatre is a product of Niël Rademan, one of the most renowned artists in South Africa. The Hessequa Art Route has a visible footprint in town, with various open studio’s and initiatives, like the Mona Lisa Mural opposite the Town Hall and the Agricultural Mural at Spar.
The Ou-dag Kolektibles is a truly authentic experience where travellers can view vintage collectors items like restored pumps, motors, vintage road markings and promotional signage. The artistic genius of this concept invites several globetrotters to the town.
The Hooikraal Market is located adjacent to the Skeerhok Padstal and offers a wide variety of gifts, home décor and apparel.
The Empower Drumming Academy is a great edition to the features of Heidelberg. The facility offers drumming lessons, which can be booked by locals and travellers. This makes for a memorable cultural experience.
The Aviary Hills Luxury Hideaway is an accommodation facility, which offers couples a romantic getaway with scenic views of the Langeberg Mountain. The facility is ideally located for an off-the-beaten-track luxury holiday.
The town of Heidelberg is also the hosting venue of many sport, cultural and artistic annual events like the Hessequa Harmony, Proe-Bietjie Festival, Silver Mountain Music Festival, Giant Pumpkin Festival and Heidelberg Landbouskou / Agricultural Show. Heidelberg is also the home of the Vlakte Marathon – which is a Comrades Marathon and Two Oceans Marathon qualifier. The 21st edition of the Vlakte Marathon takes place on Saturday, 25 November 2023.
The residential area of Heidelberg West and Heidelberg East also offers views from a bygone era with buildings as old as the early 1800’s still been seen on a daily basis. A drive through the residential areas are highly recommended. Heidelberg is also the brand home of LekkeR Kampplekke – a well-loved and respected name within the camping community.
The Geocaching community can look forward to search for the hidden Geocache within town.
The addition of Heidelberg Hotel & Bar, Oudpost Self-Catering Cottage, Buck House Elegant Apartment, Fleur Bleue Luxury B&B, Melkboom Guest Farm, The Heidelberger Guest Suite, Aan de Kanal Guest House and Alex’s Overnight Apartments makes Heidelberg a top destination for outdoor enthusiasts and couples travelling along the Garden Route.