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Information on George, Western Cape, South Africa

Conference Venues South Africa brings you information on George situated in the Western Cape Province of South Africa including information on history, location, geography, attractions.

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George is a city in the Garden Route region of the Western Cape province. The city is a popular conference centre and holiday and the commercial and administrative centre of the Garden Route.

The city is situated halfway between Port Elizabeth and Cape Town on the Garden Route. It is situated on a 10 kilometre plateau between the Indian Ocean to the south and the Outeniqua Mountains to the north.

The Garden Route has a Mediterranean climate, with mild to chilly winters and warm summers. It is one of the highest rainfall regions in South Africa. Most rain falls in the spring and winter months, brought by the humid sea winds from the Indian Ocean.

George has a modern infrastructure with conference facilities, banks, shopping and chains businesses including the recently completed Garden Route Shopping Centre, sporting and transport facilities, yet retaining its small town atmosphere. The town is also a significant accommodation centre.

George has several world class courses, some designed by famous golfers. Amongst these are Le Grande George and Oubaai. These are built on common land in Pacaltsdorp. The most well known is Fancourt Golf Estate, which hosted the Presidents Cup in 2003 and is often the host to high-profile golf tournaments.

Every December, top national rugby sevens teams from around the world come to Outeniqua Park for the South Africa Sevens, one of the tournaments in the IRB Sevens World Series.

George History

18th and 19th century

The town of George was established as a result of the growing demand for timber and the wood used in building, transport and furniture. In 1776 the Dutch East India Company established an outpost for the provision of timber; its location is thought to be near the western end of York Street. The Timber Post had its own Poshouer (manager), some 12 woodcutters, a blacksmith, wagon maker and 200 oxen plus families. After 1795 and the British occupation of the Cape, a caretaker of the forests in the area was appointed. After the second British occupation in 1806, it was decided that the Swellendam magistracy was too large, so that of George Town was carved out of it. In 1811 Van Kervel was appointed as Landrost and the town was proclaimed by the Earl of Caledon, governor of the Cape Colony on St George's Day, 23 April 1811, and named after the reigning British monarch, King George III. George gained municipal status in 1837.

From 1772 there was a gradual influx of settlers intent on making a living from the forests. These were mostly descendants of the Dutch settlers. In early days the lives and livelihood of the people revolved around the timber industry and the rich forests in the vicinity and it remained a quiet outpost. It was the dramatic improvement of communications – the roads, rail and air links eclipsing the ox-wagons and coastal steamers of the 19th century - that exposed other charms and resources of the region and resulted in unprecedented growth for the town.

Outeniqua Mountain

In 1668 the first European explorer, Hieronymous Cruse, penetrated Outeniqualand with its dense indigenous forest. The highest peak in the Outeniquas is Cradock Peak and the prominent George Peak is 1337 metres high.

The name Outeniqua is derived from the Khoi word meaning "people carrying bags of honey". The slopes of the emerald-green mountains were covered with heather and swarming with bees, according to the reports left by early travellers. "Nature has made an enchanting abode of this beautiful place", wrote the 18th century traveller Le Vaillant, when he entered the foothills of the Outeniqua range in the Southern Cape. A great deal of that enchantment and delicate beauty still captivates the modern traveller. For instance, there is the rare George lily , found near water in the deep ravines of the mountain, and a variety of ericas and proteas thrive on the fern-clothed slopes. Carpets of pink watsonias are a common sight during summer.

Montagu Pass

The historic Montagu Pass between George and Oudtshoorn was declared a National Monument in 1972. It is open to traffic and is a good gravel road, some 10 km in length. With many serpentine curves, this pass gradually winds its way through the fynbos-covered Cradock's Kloof until it reaches the summit.

The world traveller Anthony Trollope visited George in about 1878 and his comment on the Montagu Pass was: "...equal to some of the mountain roads through the Pyrenees". Emma Murray was so enthralled by the Montagu Pass that she wrote in a letter to a relative in 1852: "One forgets everything in the beauty and grandeur of the scene. It was to me exquisite enjoyment".

A traveller will notice that some parts of the stone wall along one side of the road are slightly protruding. The purpose of this was to prevent the axles of the wagons from scraping against the walls and thus becoming damaged.

Towns and Suburbs of the Western Cape province of South Africa

Arniston , Albertinia , Bantry Bay , Bellville , Barrydale , Beaufort West , Bloubergrant , Bloubergstrand , Brackenfell , Caledon , Century City , Ceres , Camps Bay , Cape Town , Citrusdal , Clanwilliam , Claremont , Constantia , Darling, De Rust , De Waterkant , Durbanville , Fish Hoek , Franschhoek , Fresnaye , Gardens , Gordon's Bay , Gansbaai , George , Grabouw , Green Point , Greyton , Hout Bay , Hermanus , Kenilworth , Kleinmond , Knysna , Lakeside , Lambert's Bay , Langebaan , Malgas , McGregor , Melkbosstrand , Milnerton , Morreesburg , Muizenberg , Montagu , Mossel Bay , Mowbray , Newlands , Noordhoek , Observatory , Oranjezicht , Oudtshoorn , Paternoster, Paarl , Parow , Pinelands , Plettenberg Bay , Prince Albert , Pringle Bay , Rawsonville , Robertson , Riebeeck West , Rondebosch , Stellenbosch , Somerset West , Simon's Town , Saldanha , Sea Point , Sir Lowry's Pass , Stanford , St Helena Bay , Strand , Swellendam , Table View , Tokai , Tulbagh , Tygerberg , Uniondale, Vermont , Vredendal , Wellington , Wilderness , Witsand , Worcester , Wynberg , Yzerfontein


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