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Untouched by progress

Vermaaklikheid is a sleepy hamlet situated on the banks of the Duivenshoks River between Heidelberg and Riversdale, 300 kilometres from Cape Town. The town’s name means ‘amuse­ment’ attesting to good times when surrounding farmers would spend their holidays boating and fishing, near the village and partake of the local distillery’s ‘witblits’ (white lightning). Farming and fishing are still the predominant commercial activities in the area.

The village developed from a 15 000 ha farm which was gradually sub-divided into smaller parcels of land by the owners, as their family ex­panded. Vermaaklikheid consists of a small shop called the Post Office and the Duiwen­shok Restaurant – both located in the centre of the village, which is surrounded by ‘Kaapstyl’ (Cape style) houses and cottages dotted across the pastoral landscape and flanked by olive groves, forests and dune veld. The village can be described as a charming hide­away, untouched by progress: a natural sanctu­ary where one can escape the pressures of mod­ern living and restore body, mind and soul.

The Duivenshok Conservancy is a nature conservation protectorate established to pre­serve the unique character of the area and the Duivenshok Estuary – one of the last remain­ing pristine estuaries in South Africa. One of the foremost issues for the Vermaaklikheid area is he preservation of the area’s architectural herit­age, the environmental management of the Duiv­enshok River and conservation of the endan­gered and endemic Fynbos species in the area.

Paul Andrew is Vermaaklikheid’s resident artist. His preferred medium is water colours and his landscapes are influenced by the ancient art of Geomancy (or Spiritual Ecology) and the Gaia Hypothesis – which claims that Mother Earth is a living being and all life forms are her offspring. Accommodation in the area includes holiday homes and a number of rustic self-catering cot­tages in a spectacular natural setting. Selected cottages accommodate well behaved dogs! In terms of culinary experiences, the Duivenshok Restaurant is renowned for its ‘catch of the day’.

Vistors to Vermaaklikheid may enjoy:

• Swimming • Canoeing • Fishing • Nature walks • Mountain biking • Bird watching • Boating • Scenic drives • Day trips • Art appreciation