Bredasdorp is surrounded by gentle rolling hills, wheat fields and sheep farms. It was South Africa’s first “dorp” (town) and was established by Michiel van Breda in 1838. Van Breda and another leading personality, Pieter van der Byl, disagreed about where the church should be built.
The result was that two churches and two towns were established, namely Bredasdorp and Napier. Modern Bredasdorp is the economic hub of the Suidpunt Region. In the past, the area was also known as the “Ships’ Graveyard”, on account of the 120 wrecked ships that lie along its coastline. The earliest wreck dates back to 1673.
The town has a typical rural environment, but the development of the nearby Air Force Test Flight and Development Centre, and the transfer of the Overberg District Council’s Head Office to Bredasdorp has accelerated the development of the town.
Adventure And Sport
Foot of Africa Marathon: This very popular marathon is routed through the southern region of South Africa and is also considered as one of the toughest in the country. The twenty-sixth marathon took place in 2003 and a Commemorative Room depicts the history of the marathon.
Hiking: The Bredasdorp Nature Reserve has several hiking trails.
History And Architecture
Agricultural Museum: The museum houses old farming equipment and a statue of a merino ram.
Audrey Blignault Room: The room was furnished in honour of the Afrikaans writer, Audrey Blignault, who was born in Bredasdorp.
Bontebok Fence Museum: The fence dates from 1837 and was the first protective fence erected with the sole purpose of saving the Bontebok from extinction.
Bottle Collection: The biggest collection of bottles in the country is housed in the Old Jail in Hoop Street.
Churches: There are many churches in the area all featuring unique architectural styles and history, such as the Dutch Reformed Church, the Reformed Church and the Anglican Church.
Merino Statue: The statue was erected in honour of the merino sheep which represents one of the most important economic activities of the area.
Rectory: The town has an excellent museum complex containing a restored rectory, furnished with pieces of furniture from shipwrecks and the Waenhuis (Wagonhouse), which exhibits a variety of wagons and old farming implements.
Shipwreck Museum: The museum exhibits fascinating treasures taken from the many ships wrecked off the stormy coast.
Fauna And Flora
Bredasdorp Nature Reserve: South of the town lies the 80-ha Bredasdorp Nature Reserve on the slopes of the Bredasdorp Mountain Range. The hiking trails that traverse the reserve offer views of the unspoilt fynbos vegetation and the animals that have made their home here.
De Hoop Nature Reserve: The reserve runs along 40 km of unspoilt coastline and stretches inland for 10 km. It is one of the most biologically diverse sanctuaries in the world and contains one of the largest undisturbed areas of coastal fynbos. There are over 1 500 species of plants (50 of which are unique to the reserve), as well as 70 species of mammals and 220 species of birds. Its 15-km-long vlei (“lake”) is the lifeblood of the reserve and sustains the richest concentration of bird life in the country. The species of birds in the reserve range from coots, ducks and grebes to small waders, herons and egrets, and the limestone caves at its northern end house thousands of bats. The endangered Cape vulture has a breeding colony in the Potsberg Mountains and the Cape mountain zebra and bontebok are also found here. Other species of buck, such as eland, grey duiker, grysbok, steenbok, grey reebok and klipspringer also roam the vast, green plains. Offshore, the reserve is a premier calving and mating ground for southern right whales. Less conspicuous mammals such as caracal, Cape fox, water mongoose and the striped polecat also live in the reserve. Reptiles and amphibians, such as snakes and tortoises can be seen as well.