While the homely settlement of Slangriver, 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 authentic off-the-beaten-track experience.
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 off-the-beaten-track 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 ‘Askraal’, but became Slangrivier somewhere along the line.
These days Slangrivier’s biggest draw card and most known export is its award-winning Christmas choirs, a cultural phenomenon unique to the Western Cape, with the Southern Cape and Klein Karoo being particularly well represented. Going by names like 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.
The Slangrivier region and surrounding farm network makes for ideal authentic 4×4 driving – with the Ostrich Eco 4×4 trail close by.
The addition of bush camping within the proximity of the Slangrivier area, makes the town worthy of exploring.
- Established: 1838
- Population: 3 011
Explorer’s Garden Route
Telephone: +27 (0)28 713 8000
- Police: 10111
- Municipal Office: +27 (0)28 713 7892
- Ambulance: 10177
- Clinic: +27 (0)28 722 2522
- Fire & Rescue: +27 (0)28 713 2222
Not to miss
- Johnique Johannes Nature Park
- Find out about the famous Christmas Choirs
- 4×4 routes en-route to Witsand and Vermaaklikheid