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A drive east from Willowmore along the R329 towards Uitenhage and Port Elizabeth, just below the Great River Mountains range (Grootrivierberge) will take you along the last remaining stretch of concrete road to the friendly town of Steytlerville, This concrete road is a single strip road with vehicles having to move onto the gravel verge for oncoming vehicles. The construction of this road was completed in 1954 and is 36 km in length.

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The town of Steytlerville was established in 1876 and lies on the banks of the Groot River which flows into the Gamtoos River through a steep gorge in the Baviaanskloof Mountains. The Lady De Waal bridge was built in 1911/12 was the original bridge that was built to cross the river. It was washed away by the floods of 1916, was rebuilt and washed away again in 1921. Thereafter the bridge was rebuilt 9 feet higher as a single lane steel-girder bridge. This bridge can still be seen there today.

Family crests of all the residents of Steytlerville stand proud in the middle of the main road accompanied by colourful bougainvillea plants. This initiative started in about 2003 and sought to honour the residents of the village. The residents who didn’t have a family crest were encouraged to participate by relating what their forefathers had done and this was incorporated in new family crests for these residents. This is probably one of the only places in the world where the residents are honoured in such a way.

Steytlerville is home to some amazing Rock Formations which were formed millions of years ago when the Karoo was at the bottom of the Algoa Sea. As the earth moved, so the rocks formed these interesting patterns. Some of these formations can be seen at Waaipoort and Draaikrans.

The Dutch Reformed Church in the town is the biggest Edwardian era church in Southern Africa seating 1200 people. Construction of this church commenced in 1906 and was consecrated in 1907. The church features a pipe organs with 1046 pipes.

The Karroo Theatrical Hotel, on the outskirts of the town, is run by Mark Hinds and Jacque Rabie. They purchased the old, run down Karoo Hotel in 2003 and soon began the huge task renovating and restoring the building. Their dream was to create a place that would offer more than just food and accommodation. Inspiration and hard work has transformed the hotel into the fine concern that it is today.
This is a “must do” experience. An extravaganza of style, glitz, laughter and fine cuisine.
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History of Steytlerville:


Rietbron lies in the heart of the Karoo, almost halfway between Willowmore and Beaufort West. The town was established in 1910 when the surrounding farm communities needed a church, school and other social facilities. A hundred years later, Rietbron is still a settlement that provides the most basic needs to its community. The organisations in the heart of the town are the church, the School, the Agricultural Association, the Woman’s Club and the Tennis Club.

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The mohair industry in this area stretches from Rietbron to Willowmore and on the Jansenville in the east. Mohair and Karoo lamb are what Rietbron is best known for.

Rietbron has become a firm favourite with weekender’s yearning for an escape to a place where peace and tranquillity are the order of the day. Its main attribute is the friendly folk who live there.

Die Bron – despite immense water scarcity at the time, the farm, Kaalplaas, was declared an urban area in 1909. It was observed that the “Rietbos” (Reed Bush in English) produced a sustainable damp spot in the soil.

A well was dug and a strong and shallow underwater source was soon discovered.

This is where Rietbron derived it’s name “Riet” from the bush and “Bron” being source.

Water from the source flowed into the local dam and from there many farmlands and orchards were irrigated.

The Library – this building was originally the school which was built shortly after the establishment of the town. From 1919 until 1960 it was used as a hostel for the school and in 1961 is was established as the town’s library.

The current NG Church was built in 1953 after a fire gutted the original church which was built in 1913. The church serves approximately 95 members.

The ACVV (Afrikaans Christelike Vroue Vereniging) hall was built in 1927 as a Church hall. When the new NG Church hall was built in 1953, it was decided to use this hall as a museum.

A small group of young entrepreneurs make unique barb wire items and other wire craft. They are known as the Rietbron Wireworks. They specialise in windmills, baskets, pot plant holders and generally anything you wish to order.

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Jansenville / Klipplaat

Jansenville is known as the Home of the Angora and has long been the heart of South Africa’s mohair production. The earliest Angora flock to the district was established from high quality imported stock by William Cary Hobson in 1871. The importance of Jansenville as the hub of the mohair industry is evidenced by the South African Mohair Growers Association and the Angora Goat Breeders Society of South Africa being situated in the town.

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The town is situated on the banks of the Sundays River and at the southern entrance to the Cambedoo Plains. Jansenville lies just north of the Klein Winterhoek Mountains and is tucked away in a series of rugged hills and valleys to the north of the town.

The earliest settlers recorded in the area date back to 1814. The first formal settlement of farmers was on the farm Vergenoegd (translated - Far Enough).

Jansenville owes its origins to the Dutch Reformed Church which formed a parish there in 1854. The cornerstone of the church was laid in 1884 and the building was consecrated in 1885. The church is a typical Victorian era design complete with decorative plaster quoins on the corners of the exterior walls. The church is unusual in that the bell tower is separate to the church. The first organ used in the church can still be seen next to the pulpit, however it was replaced with the pipe organ that is still in use today.

The Museum on Bridge Street is better known as the Sid Fourie House and was opened in 2009. The main focus of the museum is the story of Mohair in South Africa and it fully demonstrates the process of mohair production from goat to garment.
The history and culture of Jansenville and Klipplaat, with a fine collection of memorabilia and artefacts, can also be seen in this museum.

The opening of a Bridge over the Sunday’s River in 1875 was a major event in the life of the village and was regarded as one of the greatest events that had taken place in the Midland Districts.

The Jansenville Fort, constructed from stone on the top of the hill immediately north of the village can still be seen today. The fort is approximately 21m x 15m and the height of the walls is approximately 2m. The walls vary in thickness from 80-120cm. For more information on the fort, please follow the History of Jansenville link below.

Jansenville provides a typical taste of the Karoo experience where the visitor can experience clear skies with the bright starry nights, clean air, wide open spaces, a rich local history, comfortable guest houses, tasty Karoo cuisine, fossil deposits and a wide range of hunting opportunities on the variety of local wildlife reserves in the district.

Klipplaat Railway Station clings onto its past as one of the most important railway junctions in the Eastern Cape. In the mid 1800’s, wool, mohair and produce was exported through the port at Port Elizabeth (now Gqeberha). This produce was sent by means of ox wagons up until the time that the railway reached Klipplaat in 1879.

Klipplaat was graced with a brief moment of fame when the Royal Family (King George VI, Queen Elizabeth and their daughters Elizabeth and Anne)on their 1947 journey across the Karoo, stopped there to take on coal and water.

The Wesleyan Methodist Church foundation stone was laid in November 1904. The church has maintained its congregation who comprise of farmers and businessmen of the district.

The Anglican Church foundation stone was laid in 1910. The church served it’s community for many years until the English speaking members moved from Klipplaat to larger towns and cities.

History of Jansenville

More about Jansenville

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