Two different Towns with the same name have over the Years developed in the Country of South Africa. One in Gauteng and the other in the Cape! Let us first begin with the town at the foot of the Suikerbosrand Mountain, in Gauteng. (50km, South-East of Johannesburg and close to the Mpumalanga border.) This Town is located along the N3 highway between Durban and Johannesburg. (It is a great refuelling point and rest stop, for tourists travelling between the two Cities.)
During the First War of Independence; Heidelberg served as capital of the Zuid Afrikaansche Republiek under the Triumvirate of Paul Kruger, PJ Joubert and MW Pretorius, from 1880 to 1883. Heidelberg began in 1862 as a trading station built by a German, HJ Uekermann. A Town was laid out around the store and named after Uekermann's Hometown; Heidelberg.
Today many of the old buildings have been persevered and can still be seen throughout the town. Monuments to the women and children who died during the Second Boer War can also be seen in the town.
In 1885 the Witwatersrand Gold Reef was discovered in the Heidelberg District and the office of the Mining Commissioner was established there. Heidelberg developed as a typical rural Victorian town. Many buildings dating back to the period between 1890 and 1910 have been preserved.
It is today, in a superb location! There is a general high quality of life with: 'safe clean environment and an excellent range of amenities, being offered!' This has attracted a significant base of major industries, but has resulted in an influx of residents who commute daily to their place of work outside Heidelberg. This has unfortunately increased the congestion on the Road!
Heidelberg also boasts one of the richest agricultural Districts in the Country, with a highly diversified agricultural base. The Town has excellent medical facilities and these days; caters for all religious denominations, has 5 Shopping Centres, and boasts an exceptional range of sporting and recreational facilities!
To the West of the Town is the Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve in which is Gauteng’s highest point, 2 000 meters above sea level. Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve is also in the Area of in the geological and Historical World famous VREDEFORT DOME, which has been declared a World Heritage Site!
The Area is mountainous, interesting and picturesque and the resort is situated in peaceful surroundings away from public roads and residential areas. You can hike, swim in a small pool, mountain bike or just relax in this unspoilt hilly landscape.
Then, there is another Town with the same name, in the Western Province, (located at co-ordinates: Latitude of 20.906 and a Longitude of -34.081.)
This is about half way between Cape Town and Knysna! It is just East of the Overberg region and is the start of the Garden Route.
It was developed in 1716, after Louis Fourie obtained grazing rights from Governor Van der Stel and he settled alongside the Duivenhoks River. This is where he later constructed the; 'Doornboom Farm'. This was registered in 1728. The Area was initially part of the greater Riversdale District, until the Riversdale Dutch Reformed Church Council, in 1855; bought a portion of the Farm Doornboom. A New Dutch Reformed Congregation was then created for the farmers between Swellendam and Riversdale. The Town then grew around the Church!
Heidelberg is part of the Hessequa Local Municipality. The first erven was sold in the Town, in November 1855 and in 1862 the first Town management board was inaugurated. Fourie House on Fourie Street is the oldest House in Heidelberg.
Dairy farming, cattle, ostrich feathers, tobacco and corn were the products that put the community on its feet and the opening of the Railway in 1903 provided that essential link with the outside World.
These days Heidelberg is a quiet place to experience peace and tranquillity, with many surrounding farmlands! Activities in and around Heidelberg are plentiful. This Area offers many trails for hikers, nature lovers and day drives for Outdoor enthusiasts! The Bushbuck and Grysbok Trails offer day walks varying from 2 km to 15 km, in the Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve. The Boosmansbos Wilderness Area offers over 64 km of paths to choose from and the circular two day route of 27 km is a popular option. Day drives include exciting drives through the Tradouw Pass, the Gymanshoek Pass and Garcia Pass.
The Bontebok National Park is a big attraction for game and bird viewing. The surrounding Mountain Areas are full of some of the most pristine Fynbos you can find in the Western Cape.