Prince Albert has been the darling of Karoo towns for many years. It’s a little ‘dot’ on the southern edge of the expansive Central Karoo, tucked in at the foot of the Swartberg Mountains. The area around Prince Albert is synonymous with valleys of fruit orchards, while the town is popular for its picturesque streets, peaceful ambience and the annual olive festival.
Nearby is the scenically beautiful Swartberg Pass leading to the Klein Karoo. Prince Albert is also the closest town to the hidden valley of Gamkaskloof, better known as Die Hel. It’s situated on the R407, a road that isn’t en-route to anywhere, so there is little passing traffic.
The area saw a gold rush in 1891 and around the same time ostrich feather prices peaked and the town experienced a brief period of prosperity. This affluence can still be seen in the many large Victorian and Cape Dutch homes and buildings that make this town so attractive. The atmosphere of Prince Albert is conducive to long lazy days. However, there are a host of activities and attractions to satisfy virtually every preference.
Look out for
The Swartberg Pass - a popular day outing is a circular route over the Swartberg Pass to Oudtshoorn, then on to the quaint village of De Rust, through the spectacular Meiringspoort and back.
Gamkaskloof - more commonly known as Die Hel. This lost valley, accessed from the Swartberg Pass, was only connected to the outside world in the 1960’s. It was, for over a century, home to a remote group of people who were at the time described as ‘the most isolated community within a community of their own kind in the world’. The valley is now a nature reserve but retains its history and historical homes.
Historic walking route - takes in many of the beautiful National Monuments around the town.
Ghost walk - those with a penchant for the supernatural can take part in this pre-supper amble.
The old Albert Mill was built in 1842 and is almost fully restored.
The Fransie Pienaar Museum - a cultural history museum.
Gay’s Dairy - savour and buy award-winning cheeses.
Fruit farms - Weltevrede Fig and Fruit Farm is renowned for their sun-dried Adams figs, oranges and naartjies. Swartrivier Olive Farm for olive products. Tours and tastings can be arranged for both of these.
Shopping - there’s plenty to keep shoppers happy.