Pleasant discoveries await in the nooks and crannies of Citrusdal – spectacularly harsh and tinder-dry in summer, but lush and green in winter.
Nestled at the base of the rugged Cederberg mountains on one side and the snaking Olifants river on the other amid a jamboree of citrus orchards, rooibos and buchu fields, Citrusdal town centre itself is neither pretty nor quaint. But what the town lacks in in the beauty department, it more than compensates for with its strong-featured setting, as well as the friendliness of its 5 000 inhabitants.
Established in 1916 by the NG Kerk on a portion of Middelpost farm, its name was a given. Today the town is dotted with interesting places: the Citrusdal Museum depicts early pioneer days, the quirky Sandveldhuisie is the tourism office and serves great coffee, Table Bay’s original Signal Canon on the school grounds and the French-themed Grapevine restaurant.
When visiting in summer, be aware that temperatures can reach deep into the forties. With the town as base, there are many recreational activities in the surrounding area apart from stocking up on oranges: soaking up the hot spring water at The Baths, a cultural walk to ancient San rock paintings in the Cederberg Wilderness Area (027 4822304), ziplining at Piekenierskloof Mountain Resort (022 9213574), canoeing on the Olifants river, a rooibos tea tour on the Carmien Bergendal farm and a rooibos tea/wine pairing at Hebron (022 9212595). But no visit would be complete without visiting the oldest orange tree in the country – 250+ years – on the Hexrivier farm (074 1905073).
You don’t have to be in Citrusdal for very long to realise it’s a much-loved place. It’s the essence of a farming town, presided over by the mountains, ennobled by the character of its people and enlivened by its businesses.