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General Ladismith Information - links, history, weather, etc.
This General information facility is created to talk and tell things about this town that are not directly tourist facilities as such. Things like the history, climate and calender of regular events, etc. Page 1, Page 2
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Ladismith is situated in the Little Karoo at the foot of the Klein Swartberg range. Superbly set against the mountains, Ladismith is overlooked to the north by some of the finest peaks of the Swartberge.
Directly above the town soars the 2130m high Toringberg (towering mountain), so named because of its steep cliffs and its sharp peak. To the west stands one of the most famous mountains in Southern Africa, the majestic Towerkop (bewitched peak) 2203m high, with it split peak, and looms above the town.
Local legend has it that an angry witch, flying overhead, struck the peak with her wand, causing the split. The peak changes marvelously and looks bewitchingly different from every angle.
Climbing the bewitched mountain is an outstanding feat, for the final 122 m is a severe test. A local farmer, Gustaf Nefdt, first attempted it in 1885. The next ascent was not accomplished until 1905, and it remains one of the major climbs in Southern Africa.
Ladismith started as a permanent place for worship. In 1851 a portion of the farm Ylands Vallei was bought and in 1852 this was laid out in 136 erven and named in honour of lady Juana Smith, wife of the Governor Sir Harry Smith. The spelling was Ladismith to differentiate it from Ladysmith in Natal.
The town received local government in 1862 and became a municipality in 1903. The ostrich feather craze converted Ladismith into a boom town, with 50 000 birds breeding on the lucerne fields around the town and the farmers paying fortunes for breeding pairs, while their wifeís enjoyed the profits by going on mad spending sprees.
The feather crash in 1914 brought the district to bankruptcy. Ladismith farmers were very wary of the big birds for a long time. This fear eventually subsided just in time for a new fall. The new collapse did not have a significant influence on the district as other industries were much better established by then: vineyards, deciduous fruit and stock farming.
∑ Seweweekspoort (Seven Weeks Poort)
The origin of the name is elusive. It is said that it was originally named Zwerwickspoort after the Reverend Louis Zerwick, a missionary at Zoar. Another explanation of the name is that wagons smuggling Cape brandy to the interior avoided the revenue officers by travelling to the Cape through this pass, with the return journey from Beaufort West to Cape Town taking seven weeks. Still other stories claim that commandos flushing out rustlers took seven weeks to clear the pass, while it is also said that the name comes from the everlasting flowers ( known as Seven Weeks ) which flourish there.
Even if the name is puzzling there is not the slightest doubt about the supreme beauty of the pass. Glowing coals of red, orange and yellow seem to form the towering cliffs, while their summits, topped with dark green growth, are like blackened, charred embers.
The ruins of the toll-house still stand, and attached to the place is a story that the ghost of the toll-keeper may still occasionally be seen, especially on stormy nights. He appears in the road, swinging his lamp, but when any vehicle stops he disappears with a chuckle.
∑ C J Langenhovenís birthplace.
Afrikaans author, journalist, poet and politician was born in 1873 in the impressive Hoeko valley today home of the biggest apricot producers in the world. The house was declared a national monument.
∑ The majestic Klein Swartberg mountains with the Elandsberg Hiking Trail.
∑ The Huisrivier pass: between Ladismith and Calitzdorp.
∑ The old mission stations of Zoar and Amalienstein: between Ladismith and Calitzdorp.
∑ The Ladismith Klein Karoo nature reserve
∑ The Parmalat cheese factory
∑ The Ladismith cheese factory
∑ Stilbaai at the coast is only over an hours scenic drive
∑ Calitzdorp Spa only 50 minutes away
∑ Towerkop Winery