The Lady of the Klein Karoo, Ladismith, is situated in the Klein Karoo and lies along the Route 62 at the foot of the Klein Swartberg mountain range.

The majestic Towerkop, with its split peak, looms above the town. Ask even the youngest Ladismithian to draw a mountain, and nine times out of ten it will be Towerkop the rare exception who draws something else must be the tenth child of a family newly settled in the town because Towerberg is charged with all the magic its name suggests. Local legend has it that an angry witch, flying overhead, struck the peak with her wand, causing the split which today is seen from afar. No one needs to go any further to know that the peak changes marvelously, so that it looks bewitchingly different from every angle. Anyone who still doubt can climb it to fall under its spell.

The town was established in 1852. Named after Lady Juana Smith, wife of the Governor of the Cape, Sir Harry Smith. The original Ladysmith was changed in 1879 to Ladismith to prevent confusion with a similarly named town in Kwazulu Natal.

Ladismith serves as an extensive farming area with ideal climate for the production of quality fruit apricots, peaches, plums, nectarines and grapes. Ladismith produces a third of South Africas apricots! If one travels east through the beautiful Hoeko Valley, breathtaking views of the orchards in the spring and autumn can be experienced. Traveling west of Ladismith, one can visit the picturesque valleys, with the orchards, vineyards and old farmhouses of Dwarsrivier, Voorbaat and Van Zylsdamme. Ladismith also have two cheese factories, Ladismith Cheese Factory and Parmalat. The local Winery offers the wine lover a great selection of Towerkop wines. Architectural heritage A variety of architectural styles can still be seen in the old building of the town: from neo-Gothic to Victorian to the typical Ladismith style, square with round vents at the front. The town has a variety of churches, among which the exquisite Lutheran church and parsonage and the Dutch Reformed church designed by Otto Hager are the most prominent. The Otto Hager Church serves as the local Tourism Bureau. There are still many attractive houses dating from the Victorian era.

Fauna and Flora Vegetation varies widely and ranges from fynbos in the mountains to Karoo broken veld, spekboom and succulents on the koppies and plains. Several species are endemic to the Klein Karoo, e.g. 21 of the 22 Gibbaem species. The town is very proud of a very rare bulb and flower that can only be found in this area: the Syringodea Saxatilis and the Protea Aristata. Another shrub endemic to the Klein Karoo, is the beautiful Nymania Capensis or the Klapperbos as the locals call it. The shrub has striking pink flowers and can be seen during the winter when traveling from Barrydale to Oudtshoorn. Mammals gray rheebok, klipspringer and occasional kudu, Cape mountain zebra, steenbok, duiker, red hartebees, eland, springbok and numerous other small species are found here. Troops of baboons are common. Leopard roam the mountain. Reptiles are represented by five species of tortoise, boomslang, cape cobra, puff adder and various other snakes and lizards.

Activities For the hiking, mountainbiking and 4 x 4 enthusiast Seweweekspoort / Seven Weeks Poort One of Ladismiths most popular attractions is definitely Seweweekspoort / Seven Weeks Poort and is a definite must for hiking, moutainbiking and 4 x 4 enthusiasts! It is one of the most awe-inspiring and spectacular of all the mountain ravines in the country. Author and poet, Louis Leipoldt, called it one of the seven wonders of the old Cape Province. Seweweekspoort was opened in 1862 and was one of the first links through the Swartberg range. It is a spectacular drive: towering cliffs, jagged rock formations, which was formed by the forces of volcanic eruptions with interesting river crossings. The pass winds for 17km through the mountains at a level of 600 1000m above sea level. It crosses the stream 23 times, whilst the mountain slopes on both sides reach 1500 2000m. A definite must for any tourist visiting Ladismith!

Adventure Canoeing, Mountain Biking, Kloof Swimming and Abseiling are some of the activities that can be enjoyed at Buffelspoort. Buffelspoort lies 30km outside of Ladismith, on the R323 to Laingsburg. Please contact the local Tourism Bureau.





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