Founded in 1851 on the Oorlogskloof River and named after religious reformer John Calvin, Calvinia lies at the foot of the Hantam Mountains.

Calvinia is the regions key growth point and one of the countrys largest wool-producing areas.


The museum is housed in the art deco Old Synagogue built in 1920 and exhibits portray the lives of the early European settlers. A cedarwood horsemill and a display of mounted Cape fat-tailed, Merino and Dorper sheep relate the history of the area.

The Hantam House is built in Cape Dutch style with a concave-convex gable. Retaining its original cedarwood woodwork, traditional delicacies are served in an exclusive coffee house built in the original kraal.

There are various 4x4 routes, some steeped in Anglo-Boer War history, along the escarpment with picturesque views and bushman paintings along the riverbed with huge Namaqua fig trees clinging to the rock surfaces.

These are a must during spring when thick carpets of Namaqualand flowers adorn the countryside.

Calvinia enjoys almost 80% starlight and the night sky is as much an attraction for city-dwellers and astronomers as the rare sterboom is for botanists and horticulturists.

The Akkerendam Nature Reserve offers two trails across the Hantam Mountain, affording you the opportunity to take in magnificent scenery, study the sterboom and up to 65 species of birds.

The Tankwa Karoo National Park lies about 110km south of Calvinia on the route to Ceres.
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