Brimming with friendly warmth and the down-to-earth pioneering spirit of the West Coast, Lutzville shouts lushness.
In the 1600s, travellers frequently used a popular bat cave along the Olifants River for shelter and in 1661 one Pieter Everaerts aptly named it Vleermuijsklip. Soon, a small village was established on this spot, 22 km north-west of Vredendal. In 1923 it was renamed Lutzville after irrigation engineer Johan Lutz who surveyed the area for agricultural development. Today, Vlermuisklip is a national monument and one can still see elephants’ rub marks along the cave walls.
Once inhabited by the Khoi people, Lutzville today thrives as a wine-making hub, thanks to fertile soil and the appropriate climate. Watered by the mighty Olifants River, the valley also produces top quality table grapes, currants, raisins, sultanas and vegetables.
With a population of just more than 5 000, the town services an industrious farming community. Nearby is the impressive Sishen-Saldanha Railway Bridge which was completed in 1976. Although it’s neither the highest nor the longest bridge in the country, it’s a remarkable engineering feat. Divided into 23 sections of 45 m, weighing 610 tons each, the bridge is 1.035 km long – the longest bridge in the world that was built using this method.
Other attractions include a nearby San rock art site, river cruises, canoeing, fishing, bird watching and enjoying some of the finest wines in the world at South Africa’s most westerly cellar, Lutzville Wine Cellar.
Not only does Lutzville have a certain je ne sais quoi, but the humour and friendliness of its people are quite overwhelming.