Stellenbosch Municipality

Stephanie Nieuwoudt

The route is only 20 km long, but the area and its people have walked a long road to freedom.

“This route offers an opportunity to follow the journey from slavery to freedom to wealth,” said Ms Marinda Holtzhausen, chairperson of the Stellenbosch Chamber of Commerce and director of the social media company, Socially Unforgettable at the launch of the Dwarsriver Valley Freedom Route on Friday (28 August).

The name of the route encompasses both the history of the slaves which were eventually set free as well as the freedom that comes with economic independence. The five little towns on the route – Pniel, Lanquedoc, Johannesdal, Kylemore and Banhoek – has a connection to the slaves who worked in the area long ago as well as the more recent farm workers.

The route is the initiative of Doreen Carolissen, Manager: Dwarsriver Valley Tourism.

CAPTION: Cllr Malcolm Johnson, Ms Marinda Holtzhausen (Chairperson of the Stellenbosch Chamber of Commerce), Ms Tudo Zothokazi (PRASA), Cllr Sophie Louw, Ms Doreen Carolissen, Manager: Dwarsriver Valley Tourism and Cllr Nicolaas August attended the launch of the Dwarsriver Valley Freedom Route

“It often happens that larger enterprises benefit from tourism routes. With this route I want to give the small business person an opportunity to introduce his or her product to visitors. There are many crafters and other small business people in the area. We will take the visitors to the local people.”

Sophie Louw, Portfolio Councillor for Local Economic Development at Stellenbosch Municipality said: “Initiatives like these will help to lead us to economic freedom. This is the valley of possibilities. This route will open up many opportunities.”

The village of Pniel can trace its history back to 1842 when two local farmers gave land to freed slaves to build a mission station. And in Lanquedoc one of the tourist attractions is the workers’ houses designed by Sir Herbert Baker. On the estate Solms Delta, the history of the people who lived and worked in the area is recorded in the Museum van de Caab. This estate is also on the route.

Conrad Sidego, Executive Mayor of Stellenbosch, welcomed the initiative.

“This route is an innovative way to introduce the Valley and the history of its people. Initiatives like these which contribute to boosting economic growth are welcomed by Stellenbosch Municipality.”

There are many wine estates and gourmet restaurants on the route offering the visitor a rich culinary experience as well. Accommodation options are diverse: from hotels and guest houses to rooms in the houses of the local people.