Seven Weeks Poort: our Jewel
Near to Laingsburg is a piece of unspoiled nature that takes your breath away if you drive through it. It is the Seven Weeks Poort, a low-lying mountain pass that is spectacular in its beauty as it takes you through the Swartberg Range. The magnificent sandstone layers of the folded mountain are revealed as you drive along this picturesque route and marvel at the interesting and sometimes grotesque rock formations. Photos taken from any angle along this pass will prove it to be one of South Africa's most magnificent routes.
This route offers shade and cool mountain streams to the traveller after the hot, arid plains of the Karoo. Picnic sites near to these streams give you the chance to fill your water bottle or to let the children paddle.
During 1859 the authorities decided to build a pass through the Poort. The first part of the work was done by a team of convicts without the help of a road engineer. Progress was slow. In 1960 A.F. de Smidt, brother-in-law of the renowned Thomas Baines, took over and the road was completed in November 1862.
The pass meanders for 17km through the mountains at a height that alternates between 600 - 1000m above sea-level. It crosses the stream 23 times, while the view of the mountain on both sides rises up to 1500 - 2000m.
The Seven Weeks Poort gives access to the Little Karoo from the Great Karoo.
The Museum specializes in the history of the flood that washed away part of the town on 25 January 1981.
Since the Laingsburg Museum Project was initiated Francis van Wyk has been responsible for the project and collecting artifacts for its collection. She also received a ministerial special award for the work she has done.
The Wolfaardt Collection of Africana and memorabilia is exhibited at the museum. The collection features the Great Trek and Anglo-Boer War, as well as prehistoric items and historical weapons used by the Khoi-San. This is also the location of the Tourism information office.
Contact: Yolanda Engelbrecht
Tel: 023 5511 868
The Laingsburg Tourism Complex
· The Flood Museum Complex is the ideal place to stretch your legs after a long journey. Take a break and visit the little shops where you can find beautiful handmade articles. You will be able to find all kinds of handmade gifts to fit your taste and budget. The Complex consists of multiple entrepreneurs:
• CBM Car Wash service to wash and polish your car while visiting the complex.
• You are welcomed to use our “Kuierkraal” while enjoying your “padkos”.
• For the children we have a snakes and ladders playground where they can release some energy.
• The complex has a coffee/craft shop to enjoy a light meal – “Na Hartelus”.
• Gwyneth’s Hair Salon is opened from Tuesday’s to Saturday’s.
• “Die Goue Naald” is also located in the Complex, for any needlework and alterations.
A real Victorian Gem not to be missed. The entire Village was restored in 1970 and declared a National Historic Monument.
Visit the Marie Rawdon museum to see the beautiful collection of dresses and other Victoriana that belonged to Emma Logan.
The cellars of the railway station are packed with the lifetime acquisitions of a man who had a taste for the beautiful, the old and the amusing things our forefathers were making. It is a fascinating mixture of bygones and real treasure. The apothecary’s shop, for example, is complete with Victorian gothic mahogany furniture, apothecary jars with their original contents, and standing in the same room, an extensive collection of cameras, Magic Lanterns and photographic paraphernalia, all rubbing shoulders with a macabre -looking dentist surgery in one corner and an old cut – throat barber’s shop in the other.
Matjiesfontein’s Post office and Curio Shop are located on the main street of the Village. Although the population of the Village is minuscule in comparison with other places, the post office is fully licensed and operational.
The Curio Shop features not only sundries for the hotel guests, but also an array of souvenirs of Matjiesfontein, from T-shirts to locally produced jams.
Six Public artworks are permanent features in the cultural life of Laingsburg, developed collaboratively between August 2010 and January 2011 by visual arts lecturers and students from Stellenbosch University and the various communities of Laingsburg. The artists embraced a process of action research and workshops within the community, collecting stories and images shared by young and old alike, and also considered the broader significance of the flood in relation to climate change. Together, the artworks form a “Flood art route”, offering spaces of play, contemplation and visual pleasure that complement the existing Flood Route walking tour of the town.
On the Flood Route you can relive the day of the devastating disaster that overwelmed Laingsburg on 25 January 1981.
Starting at the Flood Museum, you can visually walk a route through town, guided by discription notice boards, or a tourist guide. The route notice boards give a clear picture of what happend in each area or about what was left of the old picuresque Laingsburg especially around the old historic Lutherans Church Founded in 1883
The route also takes you to the uniquely designed Tusong Community Centre – then to the first school building and the old magistrate’s residence of a previous era. The tour then visits the railwaystation which is still in use.
The last stage includes the railway bridge which was a big problem during the flood, but now painted with the “Karoo Rainbow” depicting hope after disaster.
The tour ends at the Flood Museum Complex where the documentry of the flood can be viewed or bought as a DVD.