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The ‘forgotten’ settlement of Slangrivier is a small scenic village located 15 kilometres south of Heidelberg. The village name translates to ‘snake river’ – describing the winding path of the Slangrivier River that flows through the village.

The settlement was established in 1838 when Sir George Grey – British Governor of the Cape - awarded the settlement to the indigenous com­munity to reward their loyalty during the “Border Wars’ or ‘Cape Frontier Wars’. The ‘Cape Frontier Wars’ refer to the hundred years of intermittent warfare between the Xhosa pastoral and agricul­tural peoples and the Cape colonists.

Slangrivier has since developed into an indig­enous community comprising several thousand inhabitants and is known for the Slangrivier Christmas Choir and Slangrivier Culture Group.

The well-known Xairu Blue Crane Trail starts in Slangrivier. This trail is one of four Blue Crane Routes in the Western Cape, and ends in the charming coastal village of Witsand. Slangrivier is also home to the Johnique Johannes Bird Sanctuary (named for a local boy who drowned in the nearby river) a renowned birders’ breakaway that offers an opportunity to experience the prolific bird life of the area. The Cape Fynbos Trail allows a first-hand encounter with the diverse range of Fynbos and indigenous flora of the region and The Nelson Mandela Garden pays tribute to an icon and great leader.

Accommodation in the area includes homestays and farm stays. A wider range of accommoda­tion is available in nearby Heidelberg, 15 kilometres away. The closest restaurants are located in Heidelberg.

The Slangrivier surround is rural and scenic and offers:

• Hiking • Nature trails • Bird watching • Scenic drives • Nature walks • Mountain biking • Engaging the locals • Indigenous culture

Source: Tumbleweed