Vredendal at a glance
Vredendal is a small town in the northern Olifants River Valley in the Western Cape province of South Africa. Vredendal borders the southern tip of Namaqualand and the northern part of the Boland and is recognized to be part of the West Coast. It was laid out in 1933 as part of the Olifants River Irrigation Scheme, and attained municipal status in 1944.
Vredendal is not only an ideal base from which to explore the Namaqualand, the Cape West Coast region and the Cederberg Mountains, but it is also on the Olifants River wine route, which includes the large vineyards of Westcorp and Lutzville, many boutique cellars producing some up and coming wines and typical west coast hospitality. This area has been recognized as one of the country’s ideal regions for wine production with one of the largest wine cooperative wine cellars in South Africa namely Namaqua Wines. Vredendal is on the boundary between the Mediterranean climate to the south and the semi-arid climate towards the north. Winters are mild with occasional rainy days with the summers being warm to very hot and very dry.
The town’s economy is based on mining and agriculture. Renowned for its intricate irrigation scheme, the Olifants River allows for extensive agriculture and viticulture in the area. The valley is green and fertile and surrounded by the majestic Gifberg, Maskam and Koebee peaks, creating a peaceful haven and magic setting for getting away from it all. Vredendal is best known for its wild flowers in spring when the mountains turn into a tapestry of exquisite colours.
The Matzikama Eco-Park offers nature lovers some great hiking trails, bird hides, botanical and community gardens, a bird aviary and an eco-centre overlooking the Gifberg Mountain. The annual Rittelfees which happens at the end of October brings together eight towns from the district for music, arts and crafts and some of the country’s celebrities.