By The Naked Barista 10 September 2015
So…eventually, I get to write about our hometown.
The date should actually herald from way back, about 20 years ago…
Maryna (daughter) was six and Juan (son) was three, when we arrived in the Garden Route, Knysna, to be specific.
We arrived gloriously, complete with matching Honda Ballade’s – still quite the flavor of success at the time – as we were full of pride and had status as upstanding business people (or maybe it should be ‘poepol’).
Bethesda (husband), had his rubber duck on tow, filled with some of our belongings under a tarpaulin. I had the TV on the back seat and each one had a child on the front seat, rotating on our long trip here from Potgietersrus.
In Potgietersrus, we worked very hard to become the largest Estate Agency, selling existing homes, but also by building brand new houses for the (at that time) brand new ‘Government grants market’ opening.
So we arrived in beautiful Knysna with bigger heads than the Knysna Heads…
Aerial view of Gerickes Point
To shorten our story a bit – as I have written much more of what happened next with the crashing of our economy (and our ego’s as well) in 1996 in my book: “Bury the Past, Unlock the Future”.
So, getting back to the story at hand, we only heard of Sedgefield when an interesting business opportunity became available in our little village, which we promptly bought…and this is how we got to live in our beautiful ‘slow town’.
The rustic village atmosphere is reflected in the town’s motto of being a place “where the tortoise sets the pace”. Sedgefield is also the first African member of the international ‘Citaslow movement’.
Sedgefield is a coastal town on the Garden Route in the Western Cape province of South Africa. It is situated on the N2 between Wilderness and Knysna. The climate is rated one of the best in the world with its all year moderate weather.
Sunset photo is taken from our bedroom window…
Sedgefield’s main economic activity revolves around tourism and tourists are well surprised with our beautiful beaches complete with moonwalk tour guide (Judy Dixon, 044 8831015) and during the day awesome bird-watching activities.
We also have the best paragliding sites and every other day our skies are splattered with all the rainbow colours of many a Paraglider’s open wings.
On Saturday morning’s you want to be in on the vibe at our world famous Wild Oats farmers market where fresh produce and unique local crafts can be found.
Sedgefield’s secondary activity centers on serving the needs of local residents and regional farmers.
A significant portion of our permanent residents are retired and Sedgefield caters very well for them with a golf course (the ‘Fynbos Links’), tennis courts and bowling club.
Natural attractions include Gericke’s lookout point, which resembles the profile of a resting lion. Also, the protected natural dune areas which harbor Cape fynbos plantations and rare bird species.
There is a road that leads up onto ‘Cloud Nine’ (name of the mountain/hill) where the best viewpoints are, overlooking Sedgefield and surrounds and this is also where you will find the Paragliding launching spot.
Sedgefield was a farm, proclaimed a town in 1929. In 1894, the father (Henry Barrington) of the then farm owner was born in a village in the UK, named Sedgefield and this is how our village name came to be.
Lord Charles Somerset granted the farm ‘Ruigtevlei’ to the widow Meeding and upon her death in 1878 it was divided into nine lots. Individual farmers bought lot A and B, but both plots were purchased in 1814 by John Barrington, son of a then-famous politician, industrialist and farmer, Henry Barrington. He features in Dalene Matthee’s famous novel ‘Circles in a Forest’ as ‘Henry Barrington of Portland’. John named Sedgefield in honour of his father’s birthplace in the United Kingdom.
Upon John’s death in 1901, his sister, Kate Maurice (nee Barrington), inherited the farm. In 1911, Salmon Terblanche purchased it from Kate.
A part of the farm was subsequently sold but was reincorporated in 1926. Terblanche and Thomas Moodie investigated the possibility of proclaiming the farm a town.
Moodie then invested a lot of time and effort in developing a town plan after securing an option to buy the farm. Due to an oversight by their lawyer, Terblanche stepped out of their agreement at the last moment and sold the property to Thesen and Company. Charlie Thesen decided to compensate Moodie for his invested effort and allowed him to name the newly proclaimed town. Moodie decided that Sedgefield was best, and Ruigtevlei derived its name as it was obviously descriptive of the environment.
From 1927 onwards, organic growth was experienced as families were attracted by the advertisement in the George and Knysna Herald – “New winter resort” and came to settle.
Newest settled families included the surnames: Salt, Schumacher, Brown, Barnard and Muller.
In 1921 a railway connection between George and Knysna was planned and this project was completed in 1928 by routing the line over a new bridge crossing the adjacent Swartvlei (Black Lake).
A postal service outlet followed in 1940 and in 1947 the road through Sedgefield was completed. Sedgefield was now fully integrated into the commercial route between George and Knysna.
In 1962 a library opened. The town expanded further over the next four decades with central business district complete with supermarkets, pharmacy, filling station and other.
Nearby Karatara River supplies Sedgefield with water, but in 2009 being pressed by an unusually dry summer, a desalination plant was erected to make Sedgefield totally self-sufficient in terms of water supply.
When we arrived some 20 years ago, Sedgefield was still an independent local authority. We became friends with the then Town Clerk and his wife, Fanus and Johrina Brink. The town was run very efficiently and fully functioning as it’s own entity, but when the ANC came to power nationally, Sedgefield became part of the Greater Knysna. This decision was opposed by many of the residents for now obvious reasons.
The Extensions of Smutsville, Sizamile, Groenvallei, Myoli Beach and Cola Beach were added to provide residence for around 8000 permanent inhabitants today.
We are super blessed to call Sedgefield our home…
A good place for a beer is at
or on our own deck under a tree…
A few pics of our home we build ourselves.
To feel like a real local in Sedgefield, get in touch with our awesome friend and amazing tour guide, Heinie of Rock the Route… a tours and road trip company which handles tailor-made road trips, band tours, events and authentic exploration expeditions. They have some fantastic day trips to show you how to live like a local… or read more on their fantastic blog HERE and learn how to #ExperiencetheGardenRoute!
You would be superblessed if you did!