Villiersdorp - Pearl of the Overberg - is the North Western gateway to the Overberg. Villiersdorp is situated just over an hours drive from Cape Town International Airport, and due to its central location, is ideal as a base from which to explore the whole of the Western Cape.
Graced by oak trees, it nestles in the Elands Valley surrounded by the Stettynsberg and Riviersonderend mountains, lush fruit and wine farmlands, and the magnificent man-made Theewaterskloof Dam. Villiersdorp is known as the Pearl of the Overberg because of its particularly beautiful and tranquil setting.
The original village was established by Field-Cornet Pieter de Villiers, owner of the farm Radyn. Some of his descendants became prominent not only locally but in national affairs. One of them, Sir David de Villiers Graaff was Mayor of Cape Town in 1891 and served as a cabinet minister in both the cape and Union Parliament. He founded the well-known De Villiers Graaff High School in 1907. His son, De Villiers Graaff, became the leader of the Opposition in Parliament in 1957. the town was established in 1843 by Veldkornet P.H. De Villiers and was declared a municipality in 1885. Because many of the residents were French Huguenot descendants, the town was named "De Villiers Dorp".
The Mediterranean climate allows for many outdoor activities and plays an important role in the fruit export. Villiersdorp is a prosperous apple-growing area which also producers pears, apricots, peaches, grapes and onions. the village is in a valley surrounded by the picturesque Waterval-and Baviaans mountains and lies next to the magnificent Theewaterskloof Dam. The Theewaterskloof Dam is the 7th largest in South Africa and covers an area of 5 100ha with a capacity of 483 million cubic meter, when full. A vast area on the Theewaters Sport Club premises is available for public camping. A 9 hole Golf Course is situated next to the dam, while on the water one can enjoy pleasure cruises, fishing and most other water sports. Caravan and tent sites on grass are situated very close to the water's edge, with numerous camp sites under the trees.
There are a number of excellent 4 x 4 trails in the area, as well as a tractor-drawn tour with a congenial farmer as guide. The Stettyn 4 x 4 trail on the historic wine farm is 16 km long (one way) and has a difficulty rating of 2-3.
Villiersdorp is dotted with intriguing buildings: Oude Radyn, situated in Church Street, was built in 1844 and is possibly the only building in the Cape with original Batavian gutter; St Augustine's Church is built of stone and has a burial vault; and the De Villiers Graaff schools that are over 125 years old.
The Overberg Fruit & Wine Expo is held every October. A variety of events take place focusing on the rich agricultural heritage on which the are relies. The Spring Arts Festival was recently introduced and will be a yearly feature in September.
The Villiersdorp Wine Cellar was founded in 1922 and is one of the oldest cellars in the country. It has a wide range of top export wines and its members produce about 11 000 tons of grapes a year. A wide variety of wineries are to be found on the outskirts of the town as well.
Well known artists and crafts people have made Villiersdorp their home and are always happy to show their works to anyone interested. A must see is the Alpaca farm just outside the town in the Bossieveld area. A unique experience awaits visitors with these admirable animals.
From Villiersdorp the visitor can explore Western Cape Coastal Regions, Winelands and Inland areas like the Overberg. The Caledon Casino and spa is just 25 minutes away from Villiersdorp and so is the picturesque town of Franschhoek. The seaside town of Hermanus, which boasts the annual Whale Festival, is only an hour's drive away. Villiersdorp forms part of the Worcester Wine Route and is ideally placed to explore the Breedekloof, Robertson and Montagu.Last published 18 February 2016