The village was established in 1856 on the banks of the Klein (“Small”) River. Many of the town’s buildings date back to 100 and 300 years ago, one of the reasons for the village’s status as a national conservation area. The village market square and the old buildings are strongly reminiscent of the simpler times of the town’s early existence. Many fynbos enthusiasts visit the town to undertake tours of the surrounding countryside.
Adventure And Sport
Angling: Nearby Walker Bay offers excellent angling spots.
Hiking: There are various hiking trails in the area, such as at Paardenberg and in the Salmonsdam Nature Reserve.
Horse-riding: The Stanford area has many scenic horse trails.
Water sport: Boat trips down the Klein River or bird-watching cruises come highly recommended. Kayaking also allows one to venture closer to the birds without disturbing them.
Stanford Walking Trail: The trail meanders along the Klein River and allows undisturbed bird-watching.
Art And Crafts
Craft shops: With such unusual names as “Dowies” and “The Laughing Lamb”, the town’s craft shops are bound to sell some very interesting craft items.
Earthship House: The house in the Chaynouqa Private Nature Reserve was built entirely of recycled materials. It also makes use of rainwater and solar power.
Sir Robert Stanford’s Home of Art, Crafts and Collectables: The works of local artists and crafters are sold here.
Stanford Trading Post and New Junk: The stores exhibits and sells, amongst others, African crafts.
Birkenhead Micro-brewery: Enjoy the special and unique brews produced at this estate.
Klein River Dairy’s Cheese Shop: This petite shop sells South African-made Gruyиre and Leiden cheeses.
Wine-tasting: Wine-tastings are offered by the Springfontein Wine Farm and Erica Wines.
Culture / Community Tourism
Market Square: The square, once the place where ox-wagons were unhitched during Nagmaal (Communion Services), today hosts events such as the Stanford Heritage Festival, held here annually on the last Saturday in October.
Fauna And Flora
Salmonsdam Nature Reserve: Just beyond Stanford lies the Salmonsdam Nature Reserve. The mountain fynbos vegetation sustains many small mammals such as the bontebok as well as various bird species. The Cape sugarbird and orange-breasted and malachite sunbird are often seen here. The black harrier inhabits the more marshy patches and giant proteas also grow in the reserve. The three-day hiking trails explore the reserve.
Fynbos Ecotourism Route: The endangered blue crane is but one of the rare inhabitants to look out for on this route.
History And Architecture
Anglican Church: The building, originally a mission school, was converted into a church in 1872.
Bachelor’s Hope: The building at 19 Morton Street was built in 1902 as a town house. In the 1930s it was jokingly called Bachelor’s Hope as many of the female teachers who lived there came eventually married the local bachelors.
Duminy’s Shop and Home: This building at 23 Church Street has changed ownership many times. The last owner was Hendrik Duminy who owned it throughout the Second World War until the 1960s. It is now a well-known historic attraction.
Dutch Reformed Church: The church at the corner of Queen Victoria and Church Streets was completed in 1926.
First Farm House: The house on Klein River Valley Farm was built in 1785. Different families lived on the farm over the years. Later it was converted into a store and named Ons Winkel (Our Store).
First Police Station: This was the original police station and home of the police chief.
Old Graveyard: Many of the earliest residents are buried in this graveyard.
Oulap School: This was the first school in town and the building dates back to 1870.
Stanford House: The house, now a smart hotel, was a farm shed before it was converted into a house around 1903.
Spookhuis: The haunted house was built in 1885 from limestone. Most locals have at least one ghost story to tell you about the house and its former inhabitants.