Valley of the Sleeping Beauty
Riversdale is a country town situated on the N2 between Cape Town and George. Its’ ideal location gives it the advantage of being within a few kilometres of seaside towns such as Still Bay and Witsand and also an excellent base for one-day trips to explore the natural beauty of the surrounding area.
The town lies at the foot of the Sleeping Beauty mountain peak, a well-loved landmark and has earned its name of the Floral Paradise of the Garden Route because of the abundance of indigenous flora, referred to as Fynbos, which covers the mountains and surrounding areas. This floral rainbow is in full bloom throughout the winter months.
Riversdale remains a typical, small Cape country town dominated by the large, centrally placed Dutch Reformed Church and the little stone Anglican St Matthew’s Church on a rise. It offers only two main streets with shops, retail chains are notably absent, and Long Street, the oldest road in town laid out in 1838, is where you will find architectural gems dating back to the late 19th century. Riversdale has a rich cultural heritage and its prize attraction is the Julius Gordon Africana Centre which houses a remarkable collection of internationally recognised art and antiques
The beautiful countryside and mountains provide a number of activities for the energetic visitor. Hiking the mountains is the best way to see the fynbos and the Korentepoort Dam, nestled between the mountain and the pine forests, is a beautiful spot for picnics, canoeing and fishing.
Visitors will find a few quaint coffee shops and family restaurants and the towns true community meeting place, The Ou Tronk, an eclectic mix of small shops and a wonderful stop for a cup of tea and slice of cake. A range of self-catering cottages, B&B’s as well as Guesthouses and Guest Farms offer accommodation in the area.
Places to Visit
Things to do and see
- Sleeping Beauty Hiking Trail
- Kristalkloof Hiking Trail (Crystal Falls Hiking Trail)
- Aardvark Nature Reserve
- Garcia’s Pass
- Wildehondskloofhoegte Pass
- Julius Gordon Africana Centre
- Groot Trek Monument
- Die Ou Tronk
- NGK Church
- Paddavlei Kunsgoete
- Thiart Woodwork Studio
- Cats Paws Pottery Studio
- Riversdale Golf Course
Riversdale receives approximately 384 mm of rain annually, with rainfall occurring throughout the year.
Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 16˚C and 28˚C.
Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 6˚C and 18˚C.
There are daily flights into George Airport, 138 km away along the N2. Car hire facilities are available at the Airport.
Riversdale was founded in 1838 and named after Harry Rivers, a local Government official subsequently knighted for his work in the Cape.
It was the home of the artist J. E. A. Volschenk, the first native-born South African landscape painter. Several of his paintings and those of other South African artists, can be viewed in the Julius Gordon Africana Centre. The centre also houses antique furniture.
CJ Langenhoven, known as the father of the Afrikaans language, spent the last two years of his school life in Riversdale. He wrote the poem used for ‘Die Stem’, South Africa’s apartheid era national anthem.
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