Prince Albert Tourism Bureau
PO Box 106, Prince Albert, 6930
Tel/fax: 023 541-1366
Web site: www.patourism.co.za
Swartberg Pass and mountains:
Opened in 1888, the 27-km Swartberg Pass is considered one of the finest mountain passes in the world: an un-tarred road that winds to the summit 1 583 meters above sea level with breathtaking views at every turn. The road is supported in places by hand-packed stone walls, a trademark of brilliant road engineer Thomas Charles Bain. Along the way there are relics of an old prison, toll hut and other interesting historical sites. Often covered with snow in winter, the mountain's unique micro-climate supports fynbos and a rich bird life in contrast with the arid zone flora and fauna outside its cool shady kloofs. The Swartberg Pass was declared a National Monument in its Centenary year, 1988.
The Alberts Mill is in the process of being restored to its former, fully functional glory. The mill was erected in about 1850 and was declared a national monument in 1963.
Built in about 1868, this magnificent Victorian-style hotel with its tasteful décor, original antique furniture and beautiful gardens is also a National Monument. In its gardens is a vine which is said to be over 100 years old. tel: 023 5411332
Fransie Pienaar Museum:
Tel: 023-5411 172; R4 per Adults and 50c per child; next to Tourist Info Office This cultural historical museum in Prince Albert depicts the history of the town and environment and its collection of historical items is still growing today, due to further donations from past and present inhabitants of Prince Albert. Its potent Witblitz, distilled on the museum premises in original copper stills, is in heavy demand. The house was built in 1906, and served as a hospital from 1952-1978.
Dutch Reformed Church:
The church was completed in 1865 and is the most conspicuous building along the main road (Church street) of Prince Albert. During the Angle-Boer War it was used as a fort by the British forces who placed a look-out in the tower. Its organ is still in its original form. The Church can be viewed in the mornings (Monday to Friday) and the key is available from the church office to the north of the church.
Outdoors and Sport
Wide views of the Karoo vlakte from this 18-hole golf course. Tel: 023 541-1841
Aadrie Schoeman, tel: 023 541-1182
Mountain Biking and cycling:
The Pass and surrounding countryside, with its un-tarred roads and open vistas, are perfect for cycling. Most b&bs have bikes available to visitors.
There are many day walks and overnight hikes in and around the Prince Albert area. Come into the Tourist Information Office for permits and further information on where to go. - The Koppie behind Prince Albert is a Nature Reserve open to all, with a wonderful 1-2 hour walk, offering spectacular 360-degree views of the surrounding Karoo and mountains. - call Dick Billiet on 023 541-1267 to hike to Hell and Back (3 days). -The Swartberg Nature Reserve covers 121 000ha. The best times for hiking are April to May and then in September to October. Various hiking options are possible, from easy day-hikes to a fairly demanding five-day route. The five-day trail has three alternative starting points, with overnight huts at Ou Tol (sleeps 24), Bothashoek (sleep 18) and Gouekrans (sleeps 24). the Swartberg Nature Reserve covers 121 000ha. For guided walks contact Karin Groenewald, tel: 023-5411 304 or for more info and permits call Cape Nature Conservation in Oudshoorn, tel: 044 279-1739.
History and culture
Swartberg Pass: Thomas Bains' masterpiece of sand and stone
Bradysaurus Footprints: Fossilised dinosaur footprints. Paul Muller, tel: (02082) ask for 1671
Karoo Township Tour: history and politics of the coloured community of Prince Albert seen from the back of a donkey/horse-drawn cart. Contact the Tourism Office for further details or bookings. Tel: 023 541-1366
Abandoned goldmine: remains of the goldrush on the farm Spreeufontien in 1884. Paul Muller, Tel: (02082) ask for 1671
Albert's Mill: The Alberts Mill is in the process of being restored to its former, fully functional glory. The mill was erected in about 1850 and was declared a national monument in 1963.
Mohair farms: Prince Albert is the largest producer of quality Mohair in Southern Africa. Products are available at outlets in the town.
Wine Farms: of Prince Albert Valley/Die Gang. Tel: 023 541-1401/703
Swartberg Nature Reserve:
Swartberg Nature Reserve which covers 121 000ha of remarkably diverse Karoo vegetation and Mountainous landscape. It is an area of climatic extremes, with very cold winters, and summer temperatures reaching 40C and more. The Swartberg mountains are part of the Cape Fold mountain range, and the geological formations are chiefly of the Table Mountain group. Tel: 044 279-1739.
In the Gamkakloof Nature Reserve, which is part of the Swartberg Nature Reserve. Tel: : 044 279-1739.
The Hell/ Gamkaskloof:
A fascinating valley near Prince Albert where a small, proud community lived in isolation for more than 100 years. Access was only on foot or horseback until a road was carved into the valley in 1962. The Hel is also part of the Swartberg Nature Reserve. Tel: 023 541-1736.
Soaring cliff walls with spectacular rock formations line the 25 km tarred road which winds along the floor of the gorge, crossing the Groot River 25 times. Entry to the poort is via Klaarstroom, 55 km east of Prince Albert en route to Oudtshoorn and the coast.
For the latest news on what's happening in Prince Albert, read The Olive Branch - The Official newsletter of the Prince Albert Tourism Association.