Cape Town Trip: Uniondale

Uniondale is a small farming village just in the Western Cape on the R62 Road. Uniondale is the start of the Route 62 tourist route. The road into uniondale from the langkloof winds down into the town which is in a green valley where predominantly sheep, goat, seed and apple farming occur.

History of Uniondale (Courtesy of http://www.uniondale.co.za/)

Originally laid out as a township in 1856 by the land surveyors Garcia and Melville, the area eastwards from the Court House was named Hopedale, and the upper portion of the township, westwards from that point, was called Lyon.  The first Dutch Reformed and Mission churches were erected about the year 1856.
Industries such as wagon and cart building and furniture making were largely carried on in the village of Uniondale in the 1870’s.  Many new wagons and carts were sent out, and many loads of furniture and produce such as wheat, mealies, beans, potatoes, dried fruits of various kinds and tobacco were sent into the interior and sold or bartered for cattle and for reeding and slaughter stock.  Great numbers of stock, small and large were imported into the district and sold in the village and district at a a good profit.  This kind of trade was carried on for many years.  Farmers in the Lang Kloof area of the district had to travel long distances to find a market for their produce, owing to the absence of railway facilities.

During the 1880’s ostriches and the building of houses in the village of Uniondale and district were the chief ventures.   The Divisional Council was established in 1889 as part of George district, and the few roads in the Uniondale area were kept in repair by he George Divisional Council.   The main roads were those between Knysna and  Willowmore, Outshoorn to Willowmore, George and Humansdorp, Uniondale to George along the Kamanassie Valley.  The road from Uniondale, over the mountain to Avontuur and onwards to Knysna, was built in 1865.  The new road between Uniondale and Avontuur Station, through the “Poort” was commenced in September 1925 and was complete in September 1926.

A branch of the Standard Bank was opened here in 1880, but was closed in 1886, to be reopened in 1903.  The National Bank opened a local branch in or about 1911.

The Salvation Army pioneers came to Uniondale in 1886 and the following year the Hall was put up.  The Salvation Army officers were withdrawn in 1897.

The Gaol, including Gaoler’s quarters, was erected in 1906.

Electricity came to Uniondale in 1935.  Until then paraffin lamps lit the streets from sundown to 11pm.  The last lamp lifghter was Olof Berg, whose job was to light each lamp, and make sure there was enough paraffin in each lamp to last until around 11pm.

My Experience of Uniondale

We arrived in uniondale in the late afternoon and got a little lost trying to find our accomodation at 7@Grey, this was totally due to the fact that Google maps did not see that    Grey street continued on the other side of the main street at a funny angle. We stopped outside the house and the owner was working in the very well manicured garden, when she saw us she stopped and dusted off her soil stained hands and came to greet us. “Go up the road and round the back, and I will open the gate for you to park inside” she said in a Karoo accent. We drove round to find that the property was huge and we parked on the roundabout covered in stone. We went into the room which was an old converted outside room and kitchen. The style was french and the bed was comfortable. We got our bags, one huge suitcase a vanity case and bags for shoes (I think the owner got a fright as we were only staying one night)

Traveling tip: If staying somewhere overnight pack a small overnight bag so you don’t have to haul a huge suitcase and try find where the right clothes are and then have to repack it again after one night

After putting our bags down we decided to go for a walk to discover the town, the walk was beautiful we went up to the NG Kerk which was a stunning old stone building with a clock tower and beautiful garden.

We then went down onto the main road where there were a number of old buildings that were beautiful. On the main road we came accross an antique store that was still open at 7pm and although the owner was closing up let a have a walk through the stop which was filled with old church memorabilia, regalia and paraphernalia.

We got back to the cottage in timeto hop into the car and drive up to the fort for sunset, which was beautiful but very cold and windy.

For Dinner Uniondale does not offer much and seems to go to bed rather early but we did manage to get something to eat at Uniondale lodge, even though it said that the kitchen closed at 8 and we arrived just after 8. The restaurant felt like you where sitting in someones house which was a little uncomfortable but we pushed through and ate the rather overpriced food.

We were awoken by the sun the sun the next morning due to the fact that two strategic windows only had lace curtaining but this allowed us to get on the road quickly.

I would suggest stopping over in Uniondale if it crosses your path, the place is quiet, quaint and beautiful and the people are friendly and seem to love their town, there are also numerous policemen roaming the streets and correctional services correcting offending behavior.

Travel Blogging

NOT SO EASY

So we have been in Cape Town for 4 days now and by the blog under this one I am sure you can see that I have only managed to write about the actual trip to Cape Town and nothing about Cape Town itself. Cape Town has proved to keep us very busy and I have not found the time to get the photos together and write about what we did trying to put in some valuable information that would help others visiting the great Mother City. One comment I can make is that the draw of the mountain and the Cape lifestyle is fairly strong. So More Blogs are to follow including: Cape Town Trip: Uniondale (this one I missed) and then Day 1 to 5. Hopefully I will find some time in between all the busyness to get these out even if it is a few days, weeks or months late

Trip to Cape Town – Uniondale to Cape Town

We started the trip at 6:30 in the morning after waking up fairly early due to the fact that some of the windows in the accommodation only had lace curtains but it was a good thing as it allowed us to get on our way.

The Drive from Uniondale to De Rust rather straight forward will loads of dry land and  mountians in the distance.

As we came near to De Rust there were fields of beautiful purple flowers and i had to stop to take some pictures. As soon as i got out the car I had a very sneaky suspicion what i was looking at due to the smell in the air. It was loads of onions which were flowering, beautiful purple ball shaped flowers, nice to look at but rather smelly.

De Rust is located at the foot of the Swartberg Mountain range between Oudtshoorn and Beaufort West. De Rust is also known for the meandering Meiringspoort pass. 

When driving through the streets of De Rust we noticed that almost half of De Rust was for sale, don’t know why since it was town of the year 2011 and is very quaint. In De Rust we saw:  a purple version of Herrie, a large cockerel (don’t know what the fascination with large scale animals is), many wire, mosaic and artistic crosses on peoples front doors and walls, a boat chained to a tree and a church on the hill.

We then headed into Meiringspoort pass, which is a stunning pass through the numerous drifts with the red roak formations towering above us.

Meiringspoort is a gateway that connects the Klein Karoo and the Karoo through a gorge with a 25 km road crossing the same river 25 times in the span of the 25 km.

Took so many pictures but none of then actually do it justice, you have to take a drive through this pass at least once in your lifetime.

Out of the pass we drove onto Prince Albert for a drink and found a beautiful old church but struggled to just get a fruit juice. Very quaint looking place. Had a browse around the antique store and used their loo.

From Prince Albert we drove back to the Swartberg pass turn off and on the dirt over the pass, this was stunning.

Got to the bottom of the pass and took the road onto Calitdorp, the road was tar until all of a sudden it was dirt for a long while, this went through another pass with huge red rocks.

Arrived in Calitzdorp at about 11am and went wine and port tasting at Calitzdorp, De Kraans and BoPlaas cellars, we could have continued but then probably would not have made it out for the rest of the journey, it is already an uphill battle to get out of Calitzdorp. We bought a few bottles of wine and port and carried on to Ladismith

In Ladismith there is a beautiful church building that is gutted and is used as the tourism beureu, this was a little sad, can only imagine how beautiful it was on the inside 100 years ago. The town had a number of old buildings to look at but not much else

The drive continues on to Barrydale which too had a beautiful church but couldn’t find the view we wanted so we carried on our way (found a view of Barrydale in the 70’s on the net and wanted to take a picture now)

After Barrydale the road takes you through Tradouws pass and then past Swellendam and the over Sir Lowery’s Pass (the fact that the sea was so near was a bit of a surprise) and down into Somerset West and then into Cape Town. After the pass and 10 hours of driving we were a little tired and over it, the journey was great but we needed a destination and thus gunned it for Cape Town.

Cape Town trip: East London to Uniondale

So I promised that I would blog more because I downloaded WordPress on my phone and have not used it since, so I think that it is now about time to do so. So the trip started in East London on Thursday at about 11am when I finished work. We drove through King and up to Grahamstown where we stopped for lunch and took a drive onto campus. My word I barely recognized the place, what is up with pepper grove mall, a sushi bar and a drive through KFC? Even the rat has got a little more snooty, I guess you have to call it the Rat and Parrot now. So from Grahamstown we drove the
through PE and then onto the Langloof, which is a little plain and quite long. We stopped in Kareedouw to buy some water from a friendly grocer with very friendly staff, dont know if it’s because they work at the friendly grocer or whether whey are happy people. Kareedouw is not much to write home about, dusty!

The next small town was Joubertina, which is 510km from East London. We know this because for the 40km before Joibertina we where hoping that we would not run out of petrol, we rolled into Joubertina and pulled into the primary health care clinic where the matron and the security guard kindly showed me that the petrol station “were straight down dis rode” and then waved good bye as we drove off. The petrol station was awesome with a Toyota garage and a car wash. In the town was a beautiful church and a tractor graveyard and not much else although everyone was friendly. From Joubertina with a tank full of petrol we continued on through Louwterwater where there were many apple packing factories and farmers on four wheelers and motorbikes without helmets. The turn off to Uniondale took us on a windy road that finally had some decent views with some towering rock faces which made some nice pictures as well at some orange beard lichen. We ended up arriving in Uniondale in the early afternoon but the story of Uniondale is for another time

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