SEDGEFIELD – GARDEN ROUTE – SOUTHERN CAPE
Sedgefield is a coastal town on the Garden Route in the Western Cape province of South Africa. It is situated on the N2 national road, between George and Knysna. The town offers beaches, adventure activities and bird-watching activities to the holiday revellers preferring its all-year mild weather.
The town was proclaimed in 1929 on the farm Sedgefield, which in turn was named in 1894 after the village of the same name in the UK where the father (Henry Barrington) of the then farm-owner was born.
The farm Ruigtevlei was granted to the widow Meeding by Lord Charles Somerset and upon her death in 1878, the farm was divided into 9 lots. Lots A and B were first bought by individual farmers, before eventually being purchased in 1894 by John Barrington, son of then-famous politician, farmer and industrialist Henry Barrington (referred to as ‘Henry Barrington of Portland’ in the novel ‘Circles in a forest’ by Dalene Matthee). John named the town in honour of his father’s birthplace Sedgefield in the United Kingdom. Incidentally, the original Afrikaans name Ruigtevlei translates loosely into Sedgefield, with ‘ruigte’ indicating sedge and ‘vlei’ relating to a field. Kate Maurice (nee Barrington) inherited the farm Sedgefield from her brother upon his death in 1901. Kate sold the farm in 1911 to Salmon Terblans. A part of the farm Sedgefield was subsequently sold as Middelplaas, but was reincorporated in 1926. Terblans and Thomas Moodie investigated the possibility of proclaiming a town on the farm. Eventually, Moodie invested a lot of work into developing a town plan after securing an option to buy the farm but due to an oversight by Moodie’s lawyer, Terblans was able to step back out of their agreement at the last moment and sell the ground to Thesen and Company. However, Charlie Thesen decided to compensate Moodie for his invested effort and allowed him to name the newly proclaimed town.
The name of Sedgefield was but one of a number of names considered by Moodie. In the end, the fact that it translated well to the original Afrikaans name of Ruigtevlei as well as the observation that it was very descriptive of the environment gave sway in favour of the name. After proclamation, the town experienced organic growth by attracting families who were attracted by the ‘new winter resort’ advertised in the George and Knysna Herald from 1927 onwards. The first families to settle were the Salts, Schumachers, Browns, Barnards and Mullers. In 1921 a railway connection between George and Knysna was planned and the project was completed in 1928 by routing the line over a new bridge crossing the adjacent Swartvlei (‘Black lake’). In 1940, the town was given a postal service outlet and in 1947 the road through Sedgefield was completed, thus fully integrating the town into the commercial route between George and Knysna.
A library was opened in 1962 and the town expanded further during the next four decades to comprise a central business district with supermarkets, pharmacies, filling stations, curio shops and other undertakings. Fresh water has been supplied from nearby George, but being pressed by an unusually dry summer a desalination plant was erected in 2009 to make the town totally self-sufficient in terms of water supply.
The central area of Sedgefield together with the Island form part of the original town area. Since then, the extensions of Smutsville, Green Valley, Myoli Beach and Cola Beach were added to given residence to the approximately 10,000 permanent inhabitants of Sedgefield.
The town’s main economic activity revolves around tourism, with secondary activities centred on serving the needs of local residents and regional farmers. The laid-back rustic village atmosphere is reflected in the town’s motto of being a place where ‘the tortoise sets the pace’. A popular attraction is the Wild Oats market which attracts large numbers of tourists and residents from the region every Saturday morning with offerings of fresh produce and local crafts. A golf course (the ‘Fynbos Links’), tennis court and bowls field caters to the significant portion of retired permanent residents of the town.
Local natural attractions include Gericke’s lookout point which resembles the profile of a resting lion and the protected natural dune areas which harbours Cape Fynbos plantations and rare bird species.
In September, 2010 Sedgefield was accredited as the first ‘Cittaslow’ Slow Town in Africa. It now has an annual Slow Festival that takes place around Easter, a Slow Food movement and a number of activities that are specifically related to the slow way of life.
In celebration of our membership a local festival was initiated this year (2010) as a fitting arena to showcase our town’s unique attractions. It will be repeated in the years ahead.
All the events expressed the “Slow Town” theme. There was a sand sculpting competition, dog walk and talk around the island (dogs have the best life here!) pedal, paddle, pant competitions. There were games such as backgammon, boule and petanque and a photography competition with categories emphasing the slow aspects of life.
Sedgefield – the perfect family destination
Apart from just swimming and sun bathing, Sedgefield offers great attractions for the whole family. With four unspoiled beaches, Sedgefield presents a variety of water sports – from simply splashing around, to excellent fishing, boating, canoeing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, waterskiing, and sailing.
Great things to do
Sedgefield has lots of things to do for the whole family. Sedgefield Tourism gladly recommends the flowing activities:
• Sedgefield is renowned for the award winning Wild Oats Community Farmers`Market every Saturday, so why not start your day, with the farmers and local product owners and experience the vibe & the unique people. Get the best breakfast in town while you catch up on the local gossip.
• Sedgefield offers a wide and diverse range of arts and crafts, come and take a stroll through Scarab Village – here you will not only find the widest choice of wares, but very often the best value. You will definitely take home the perfect gift!
• See how paper is made from Elephant dung at Scarab Paper. You will be amazed to see how paper is still produced by hand using a vintage printing press.
• Water sports: yachting, kitesurfing, wind surfing and board sailing, canoeing, water skiing and snorkeling.
• If getting wet is not your thing, then ‘Get Active’ and cycle the rolling hills, phenomenal fynbos and panoramic views Sedgefield makes a perfect start-off point for both road and mountain bikers.
• Paragliding, ‘Fly with the Birds’ – Sedgefield is a veritable paragliding mecca with no shortage of breathtaking flight spots. Drive up to Cloud 9 for a spectacular view. See how the Paragliders take off and enjoy the breeze in your hair.
• Fishing: Lagoon, rock & surf fishing, bass fishing at Groenvlei. Never fished before? Go on a Fishing Tour for the day!
• Horse Riding: experience a unique opportunity to explore the magnificent beauty of the lakes & beaches on horseback.
• Walkers and Bird Lovers are certain to see an abundance of Sedgefield`s fascinating fauna and flora, as they discover the network of fynbos, lakeside and forest trails.
• There are a number of awesome walking trails in the town and the surrounds.
• Don’t forget to bring your binoculars to view the varied bird life in our area, at the two bird hides along the lakes. Take a guided walk and enjoy this abundant birdlife.
• Alternatively, there’s always the option of a leisurely stroll on the beach at sunset. Be sure to see Gericke`s point up close and personal. See some of the highest & most spectacular sand dunes in the world – do not be fooled by the dune vegetation, they are dunes!
• Explore the treasures of our dunes by going on a guided Dune Mole Rat Trail or a shore walk with Mark Dixon.
• Take to the beach. Sedgefield boasts five stunning beaches. From the river mouth to Myoli and Cola beaches, Platbank and on to Swartvlei beach alongside the majestic Gericke`s Point. Lots of shallow water for the kids to paddle in and rock pools that will ensure hours of exploration.
• For a Moonlight Experience for two exclusive days in the month, why not explore the rock pools at Gericke`s point in the moonlight, and enjoy an informative guided talk on the wonders of the marine world under the moonlight!!!
• Gentle Leisure – stroll along the main street, with their many restaurants, coffee shops & pubs, and experience the unique aura that surrounds the town centre.
• Wakeboarding & Wake skating, perfect for an action packed day on the water.
• Sedgefield Station, the Whistle Stop. Be transported back into time while enjoying station cuisine on an old fashioned “stoep” or under the trees. Art on display on Sundays in this lovely station garden.
• Time to party up a storm at Chattanooga`s where local is definitely lekker. Big Screen TV available for sporting events. Karaoke at Watney`s & let the superstar in you emerge!
Where to stay
Sedgefield offers a wide range of accommodation options to meet the needs of every visitor. Choose between accredited or Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA) endorsed establishments. Sedgefield Tourism is the only official, accredited, tourism office and our trained personnel will gladly assist you with your enquiries. Should you arrive after office hours you will find accommodation and restaurant information at the Sedgefield Tourism office on the light box at the right hand side of the office door, against the wall. The office is open Monday – Friday 8:00 to 17:00, Saturday 8:30 to 13:00 and closed on Sundays. Office hours are extended over summer, high season and festivals. The Tourism office will be closed, annually, on 25 December and 1 January. On 24 & 31 December the Tourism Office will be open from 8:30 to 13:00. For child friendly & disability friendly accommodation kindly contact: Sedgefield Reservations.
Tours to do
Daytrips Sedgefield is the ideal Garden Route base, offering visitors an unforgettable holiday, from the very adventurous holidaymakers, to those who prefer relaxing in the sun, strolling through the cool forests or taking scenic day drives. It is an excellent day trip base and we advise that you plan your trip to stay at least four days in the heart of the Garden Route – Sedgefield. Should you wish to extend your stay in Sedgefield to include several day trips, Sedgefield Tourism recommend the following destinations: Knysna www.tourismknysna.co.za Mossel Bay www.visitmosselbay.co.za George www.tourismgeorge.co.za Wilderness www.tourismwilderness.co.za Plettenberg Bay http://www.plettenbergbay.co.za/activities/index.htm Tsitsikamma www.tsitsikamma.org.za Oudtshoorn www.oudtshoorninfo.com There is so much to see and do that it is impossible to list the highlights of each destination. We recommend that you visit these towns, online, for more information.
What to eat
Sedgefield Tourism recommends the following restaurants: Bistro on the Lake @ Lake Pleasant Living Bungalô Bush Restaurant – N2 @ Groenvlei Chattanooga`s Restaurant & Cocktail Bar – Cnr Main & Vink Str. Eat Restaurant – Cnr Mossie & Main St Peridot`s Restaurant @ Lake Pleasant Steam Whistle Stop, Sedgefield Train Station. Trattoria da Vinci – Woodpecker Mall, Main Road. 22 degrees East Restaurant @ Myoli Beach- Montecello Restaurant @ Main Road Puccis Pizzas @ Main Road – La Piazza Restaurant @ Kingfisher Rd.
Adventure/Leisure Activities in and around Sedgefield
For a complete list of Adventure/Leisure activities: go to www.southcapetourism.com
Who to contact
Tel: +27 44 343 2658
Tel:+27 44 343 2007
Fax: +27 44 343 2010
Physical: 30 Main Street, Sedgefield,6573
How to get here
By Road – Sedgefield can be easily accessed by road as it lies on the N2 between Cape Town (467 km) and Port Elizabeth (318 km). Sedgefield`s neighbouring towns are George (35 km) and Knysna (25 km) By Bus – All the major intercity liners operate between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth as well as from other major cities in South Africa. There are also smaller operators serving the transport needs of Sedgefield. By Air – George Airport is situated (40 km) from Sedgefield and provides a range of daily scheduled flight options from all the major cities in South Africa. Plettenberg Bay Airport (69 km) accommodates chartered flight options.
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