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  The Salvation Army officers were withdrawn in 1897.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.

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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Trip to Cape Town Planning well under way

December is fast approaching and it is now only 19 days untill our holiday to Cape Town begins, the planning has been intense as Lauren and I want to do as much as possible in the Mother City and be as touristy as possible. So far the plan is to leave EL on the 15th and travel through to Uniondale where we will be staying at Seven at Grey, we wont be taking bicycles though, even though we could.

A luxury free standing cottage situated in a big garden in a quiet street off the main road.  The cottage is fully restored and tastefully decorated in a French provincial style. Cyclists are welcome.

From there we will be traveling to De Rust and through the Meiringspoort pass to Klaarstroom. From Klaarstroom the road should wind up to Prince Albert and then through the Swartberg Pass and down into Calitzdorp – All roads leading to Calitzdorp are downhill, hopefully it wont be an uphill battle to get out of this port wine capital of South Africa, I think we will definitely have to use the spittoon.

From Calitzdorp the road we will be following will take us through Ladismith, Barrydale, Swellendam, Riviersonderend, Caledon, Bot River, Grabouw, and Somerset West with us ending up in the Mother City where we will be staying with our Awesome Friends, James and Michelle and the jovial Adlard troop. As can be seen the travelling research has some way to go and so if anyone has any tips of places to see along the way please let me know so that we can add this onto the list.

So Far whilst in Cape Town we will be visiting the following places and doing the following things:

Red City Tour

Franschoek & Stellenbosch, JC Le `roux

Planatrium @8

Chapmans, houtbay, boulders beach, simonstown, fish-hoek, Kalkbay

Worchester

Kirstenbosch & Table Mountain, Sea Point,  Camps Bay

Rhodes Memorial,  Robben Island & Aquarium

Phantom of the  Oprah

Darling to Langebaan to stay over at crystal lagoon lodge

Cape Point Paarl,Wellington, tulbagh, Swatland

what can you recommend, we have a few lines open?