W ‘n B – sourced from Jurie Prinsloo’s facebook post.
by Anje Rautenbach
Steytlerville was never part of the plan, but plans are meant to turn into adventures.
Somehow I ended up in a place where the Cockscomb peak winks at the day and stars illuminate the midnight sky. Somehow my feet landed on the arid soil where ox wagon wheels paved the way and legends walked. Somehow I got lucky enough to fix my eyes on the plains where divinities soar and still dance to this day.
Somehow I ended up in Steytlerville.
Steytlerville – A 24-hour Adventure
I was fooled by the quiet streets and size of Steytlerville. As soon as I hit the brakes under the first tree, I realised: “Steytlerville is about to become an adventure!”
And so it did. Even if it was only for 24 hours.
Things to do in Steytlerville
Valley of Flags
When you enter Steytlerville from Kleinpoort, on the R329, the Valley of Flags will greet you. The Valley of Flags is a road gallery of South African flags, from 1474 until now, painted on the cliffs of the Noorspoort Pass by George Craven.
When Steytlerville says “Welcome”, hit the brakes and stretch your legs. The open-air museum exhibits old farming implements and under the shade of a big old tree you can learn and read more about all the flags painted in the Valley of Flags.
Lady de Waal Bridge
From the open-air Museum it’s a short walk to the Lady de Waal Bridge. This bridge was built in 1912 and suffered a lot of damage after two floods. Today, there’s no sign of water. Today, there’s only the creaking-crackling-noise of a bygone era and the thought; who was Lady de Waal?
The main street of Steytlerville is lined with family crests. The family flags portray the crests of families from all walks of life who have contributed to the town’s history.
Danie Craven & A.G Visser
Big footsteps have been left by South African historical giants such as Danie Craven and A.G Visser.
Danie Craven is still one of South Africa’s biggest rugby legends. He was a Springbok Captain and today his legend lives on at Noorspoort Guest Farm and in the hearts of many young rugby players making their way to the annual Craven Week – a rugby union tournament for South African schools.
A.G Visser was a South African poet and medical doctor with a love for music. His former house is now declared as a National Monument.
The name of Steytlerville originated from Minister Steytler. In 1907 the NG Church was inaugurated with an organ consisting of 1046 shiny pipes. Today this church still holds the record for being the biggest Edwardian-style church as it can seat 1200 members.
Tea Time at The Veranda Coffee Shop
The Veranda Coffee Shop in Steytlerville’s Main Street fills the town with an alluring smell of coffee and freshly baked cake. It’s the perfect place for some *stoep-sitting where you can watch the movements of Steytlerville with a cup in the sun. Michelle, the owner of the coffee shop, is a cake master. No, she is the cake president. Her carrot cake has the power to change a nation and rumour has it that her milk tart and chocolate cake possesses the same kind of power. She is also passionate about animal rehabilitation and in her backyard there is a whole different kind of passion…
Pegasus Early Motoring Museum
Once you’re done with your decadent piece of cake at The Veranda Coffee Shop, the owner leads the way to her backyard. Who would’ve thought that in such a small town there would be something as unique and diverse as the Pegasus Early Motoring Museum? Here you can find classic cars, old town memorabilia, petrol pumps, signage, a wagon and newspaper cut outs of big motoring moments from South Africa. It’s here in the backyard of a humble Steytlerville home where every car has a story, where every bit is driven by a family’s passion and where every piece plays a pivotal role in the automobile history.
Lizzy and her Khaya is one of Steytlerville’s most beautiful modern day stories. Her business grew from selling sweets to Steytlerville’s kids to a successful restaurant that has been on the lips, photos and to do lists of many local and foreign tourists. Dining at Lizzy’s Khaya is like sitting around your grandmother’s table for a family dinner. She waits you in and welcomes you into her home like a long lost family member; ready to chat and ready to cook up a storm. Her food is unbeatable; deliciously traditional and authentically South African.
Directions to Lizzy’s Khaya:
Take the Willowmore road out of Steytlerville, make an immediate left and at the brown ‘Lizzy’s Khaya’ sign a right and just continue with the road. It’s a short ride out of town and Lizzy is no stranger to the locals; ask around if you do get lost!
The 24th Hour
And just like that a 24-hour adventure in Steytlerville came to an end. In a short time I became quite fond of this Karoo town and everything explored; from the Edwardian- and Victorian-style architecture, to the food, to all the stories and folk tales.
Are you from Steytlerville or a Karoo-fundi? What else can you put on the list of Things to do in Steytlerville?
Hannes Horn – Hi Anje – good to see you came our way. I have a great story about dr. AG Visser that happened on our farm Bucklands – about 100 years ago.
There was a Terblanche family living at Wilkerskloof, the furthest corner of the farm. The last left-overs of the ruins are still there. The lady was with child, but things went wrong and she could not give birth, so they sent a messenger on horseback to fetch dr. Visser in Steytlerville, about 60 km’s away. He came with his cart and horses as soon as he could, and delivered the baby by means of a caesarean section on the kitchen table, and both the mother and the little boy lived.
He then left a cage with doves behind, and the family had to release a dove with a message each day, to inform the doctor of their well being. All went well, and the doc never had to return!
And we think we live in tough times!
Our Ouwerf self catering guest house is open for business again, and you are invited – will be great to share some stories around the fire!