Heidelberg Activities & Attractions
On the Western Periphery of Hessequa - "The Explorer's Garden Route"
Heidelberg - Western Cape
Heidelberg WC is synonym with bright yellow canola fields and exquisite indigenous fynbos. It is situated south of the Langeberg Mountain range and north of the Indian Ocean on the N2 highway running through the town.
The town has been developed alongside the Duivenhoks River, the source of which is high up in the Langeberg Mountains. It is halfway between Swellendam and Riversdale among farmlands and well-preserved forests and streams and fynbos.
Heidelberg is a beautiful and peaceful town and townsfolk perform their business with friendly enthusiasm, creating a pleasant country atmosphere. Here you will always find someone who will spend time proudly chatting to you about the town and everything that happens there.
Heidelberg has always been an agricultural town surrounded by many farmlands. Consequently it has become an important link for transporting agricultural products such as wool, wheat, fruit and tobacco when it became part of the railway network in 1903.
Of course, as the second oldest town in Hessequa, Heidelberg has a rich history dating back to 1855, and people have many stories to tell. As it happens, the town has also produced some talented people, such as well-known actors, Goliath Davids, his grandson Christo Davids, Theodore Jantjies and Maurice Paige. Also South African rugby union players like Lyndon Hartnick and Burrie Gildenhuys (BG) Uys.
Things to Do in the Heidelberg Area
The Great Outdoors – Being one with Nature
The area north of Heidelberg WC is a stretch of unspoilt nature that most eco-tourists dream about. It’s an extraordinary piece of wilderness for nature lovers, hikers, birdwatchers and mountain bikers.
The indigenous forest (with World Heritage Site status), Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve is some 20 km north of Heidelberg in the heart of the Langeberg Mountains. Situated adjacent to this reserve is another World Heritage Site, the Boosmansbos Wilderness Area that falls within the Cape Floral Kingdom.
These are rugged mountainous areas with indigenous forests, rare birds and mountain fynbos, like proteas and ericas, as well as a variety of wildlife. There are also leopards in these mountains, but they are shy and will not readily show themselves.
Of Trails & Trees – Appreciating Nature
- Various longer and shorter, some really tough hiking trails in Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve, such as Grootvaders Loop, Loerklip, Slangkuilkloof, Honey Loop, Fynbos Trail, Sunbird Loop, Noukrans Loop, Grysbok Loop, Bushbuck Trail, etc. Incidentally, Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve is a World Heritage site.
- Various hiking trails in another World Heritage site, Boosmansbos Wilderness Area, like the tough multi-day Horingberg Trail. Birders will spot a huge variety of bird species and might even see eagles and the double-collared sunbird.
- Along these trails are fynbos, streams, forests and rugged mountains and hikers and mountain bikers might spot and identify a variety of birds as well as trees, such as yellowwood, stinkwood, mountain saffron (red pear), red alder, beech and candlewood.
- De Hoop Nature Reserve in the Overberg offers hiking and cycling trails among birds, unique fynbos, as well as diverse antelope.
Of Passes & Waves – Sightseeing Expeditions
- Witsand at the mouth of the Breede River boasts a blue flag beach.
- San Sebastian Bay at Witsand is one of the best whale watching points in South Africa when they annually come to breed from June to November.
- Malgas – while exploring the Witsand area, be sure to visit the Malgas Pont, only recently motorised (2020) ferrying vehicles safely over the Breede River.
- Treat yourself with a drive through the Tradouw Pass, 16 km of the most gorgeous scenery through the magnificent rugged mountains in the Langeberg Mountain Range.
- Gysmanshoek Pass is an old gravel pass through the Langeberg. It makes for an exciting drive preferably in a 4×4 vehicle. Breath-taking beauty, priceless experience.
- Garcia Pass – another delightfully scenic route where baboon families are regularly sighted on and along the road.
- Wildehondskloofhoogte Pass (11,2 km) between Montagu and Barrydale in the Langeberg.
Of Fitness & Fun – Pursuing Sport
In Heidelberg we believe in exercising to stay healthy and fit. Not all people like the same sport, though, so Heidelberg offers various sporting opportunities:
- Heidelberg Golf Course – 9-hole, 18 tee, par 72, with a covering distance of 5767m for men and 5223m for ladies, surrounded by nature and providing stunning views of the Langeberg Mountains
- Heidelberg Bowling Club – beside the Duivenhoks River and on the other side of the old railway line from the Golf Course
- Squash Court – open for everyone
- Mindful Fitness Club in De Villiers Street
- Langeberg Athletics Club – roadrunners and presenters of the Annual Vlakte Marathon from Heidelberg to Witsand
Of Events & Festivals – Community Entertainment
Our town might be small, but in the country we go big! We just love our festivals, music and sport:
- Annual Giant Pumpkin festival (Pampoenfees)
- Proe-bietjie Kunstefees Community festival
- Annual Silver Mountain Music Festival in the Grootvadersbosch Valley
- Goliath Davids Theatre Festival
- Monthly De Heide Market – local products and workshops
- Annual Heidelberg Agricultural Show (Landbouskou)
- Annual Vlakte Marathon – Langeberg Athletics Club’s annual road running event
- Annual Hessequa Harmonie Music and Arts Festival – performances by top local artists
Things to see in and around Heidelberg
The Bygone Days... Historical Walking Route
Follow the Historical Walking Route to view the most important historical landmarks in our beautiful town:
- Fourie House/Doornboom Opstal (Farmhouse) on Fourie Street (1728) – oldest house in town
- Hotel Heidelberg (originally built possibly round the 1840s) is still in use after having been renovated considerably. In 1901 during the Anglo-Boer War, a skirmish took place between Jan Theron’s commando and the British right between the church and the hotel.
- Brugsig refuge for women during the Anglo-Boer War (1880)
- Old Magistrate’s building (1882) housed the court once
- St Barnabas Anglican Church (1889)
- Dutch Reformed Church (1890) these two churches are built diagonally across the street from one another
- Heidelberg Town Hall (1913)
- Stone Post Office (1936)
The Heidelberg Community comprises a fair number of gifted individuals:
- Follow the Hessequa Art Route through Heidelberg – find a route map HERE
- Visit the Star Nation Art Studio & Gallery exhibiting creations of local artists and studio students
- Also visit Inspired Creations – Art & Crafts for handmade furniture and crafts
- PVB Knives – exquisite knives handcrafted by a knife artisan
- Footloose Inc – lamps ingeniously handcrafted from recycled materials and wood
The Creative... Heidelberg Artists & Artisans
Shopping & Dining
- Blue Crane farm shop
- Heidelberg Biltong factory
- Delish Restaurant & Wine shop
- Rooi Pot Restaurant
- Grocery stores & Clothing stores
- Coffee shops
- Heidelberg nursery
Diverse Emergency Services
- Heidelberg Clinic
- Heidelberg Pharmacy
- Garage just off N2 offering 24/7 fuel and a convenience shop
- SA Police Station