Calitzdorp, overlooking a valley that spills like a “Horn of plenty” from the Swartberg foothills, is the fruit-bowl of Kannaland and source of the country’s finest port wines. If the Klein Karoo or Kannaland of old still lives on then its spirit is here, lingering perhaps in some vista of loft-doored cottages up to their cheeks in orchard bloom. For nowhere is the authentic character of a Klein Karoo community and the unique character of the region better preserved. In the spectacular mountains that shelter Calitzdorp on three sides, Nature too, seems unspoiled by the twentieth century. Awaiting the ecology minded explorer is a wealth of flora, fauna and geological fascination. No wonder that so many visitors stay longer than they intended, soaking up the beauty and – why not? – a little of the wine!


This fertile valley was originally inhabited by San and Khoi people who left numerous rock paintings. Buffelsvlei, the quitrent farm on which Calitzdorp now stands, was granted in 1831 to J.J. and M.C. Calitz. Ground was donated for a church in 1853 and four years later, the foundation stone was laid and a church school established. Richard van Reenen Barry was the first pastor and served the community for 40 years. In 1910 it was decided to build a new church as the congregation exceeded 4 000. 1912 was an important year as the new church and a new school building were completed, and a start made with the building of the Standard Bank as well as the Nelsrivier Dam. Subsequently drought, the Great Flu and the collapse of the ostrich feather market all hit the area hard. However, recovery followed with the opening of the railway line (1924), electrification (1937) and the construction of a cement road from Oudtshoorn. The Calitzdorp of today still fits the description given by a visitor in 1857 – “this romantic and beautiful spot.”


Calitzdorp is known as the Port Capital of South Africa. This is where the annual Calitzdorp Port Festival is held during the last weekend of July each year.

  • Climate is semi-arid desert region

  • The town is 50 km west of Oudtshoorn and 50 km North of Mossel Bay which is the closest coastal resort near the town.

  • The climate and temperatures are ideal for the farming of grapes

  • The summers are very hot and winters mild with snow often falling on the adjacent Swartberg Mountain Range.

Calitzdorp Information Bureau

Tel:  +27 (0)44 213-3312

Contact us:

Tel: +27 (0)44 382-6880
Fax: +27 (0)44 382-5718