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Dec 12, 2017

Inland and nestled in the foothills of the Outeniqua Mountains some 56 km north-west of Mossel Bay, Herbertsdale is a historic village with forts dating back to the South African War (1899 - 1903).

The town is in the valley of the Langtou River, a tributary of the Gouritz River, and was established on part of the farm ‘Hemelrood’ of which the owner was James Benton Herbert. The first residential stands were sold in 1865 and the settlement was named after the owner of the farm. The Dutch Reformed Church built the first church and school on another piece of Herbertsdale where mission work began in 1863.

The mission station was taken over by the Berlin Missionary Society in 1872. The school still stands today. A farm house on the road to Herbertsdale. The town is at the southern end of the Cloete’s Pass which connects the Little Karoo with the Gourits valley across the Vreysberg (1100m) at the eastern extremity of the Langeberg Mountain Range. The pass was constructed in 1850 and is named after the family who owned the land at the southern entrance of the pass. At the Northern entrance there are ruins of blockhouses built by the British to protect the pass against the Boer raiders during the Anglo–Boer war.

The picturesque Langfontein Valley (on the road out of town towards Cloete’s Pass) is known for its witblits - a South African version of moonshine or poteen. The ruins of the British fort are situated on the farm Suurlemoenskloof some 15 kms from the village.

Photo: Andre Roux