Ladismith, Karoo, Western Cape, South Africa




Known as 'the jewel of the Klein Karoo', Ladismith is located at the foot of the Klein Swartberg mountain range in the Klein Karoo. It's connected by tarred roads to all the major cities, including Cape Town, Oudtshoorn, George, Mossel Bay and Port Elizabeth.

Both Ladysmith and Ladismith were named after Lady Juana Smith, the wife of Sir Harry Smith, the governor of the Cape. Ladysmith, in what was then Natal, was founded in 1850, and Ladismith, in what was then the Cape, was founded in 1852.

So, with Ladysmith having priority, Ladismith changed the spelling of its name to avoid confusion. It hasn't really helped; most people are still confused.

A variety of architectural styles can still be seen in the old building of Ladismith: from neo-Gothic to Victorian to the typical Ladismith style, square with round vents at the front. The town has a variety of churches, among which the exquisite Lutheran church and parsonage and the Dutch Reformed church designed by Otto Hager are the most prominent.

Ladismith now forms a rich farming community producing fruit (exports grapes, apricots and plums), milk (for 2 cheese factories), wine, flowers and mutton. Ladismith produces about a third of South Africa's apricots.

This attractive Karoo town is considered the gateway to the R62. Nestled under the majestic Towerkop (magic mountain) it offers visitors some interesting hikes, wineries and the usual collection of guest houses and coffee shops. Ladismith is on the R62, about 100 kilometres (60 miles) west of Oudtshoorn.

Game found in Ladismith is: Gray Rheebok, klipspringer, occasional Kudu, Cape Mountain Zebra, Steenbok, Duiker, Red Hartebeeste, Eland, springbok and many other small species. Baboons are common and Leopard are occasionally spotted. Tortoise, Boomslang, Cape Cobra, Puff Adder and various other reptiles can also be seen.

One of Ladismith's most popular attractions is definitely Seweweekspoort (Seven Weeks Poort) and is a definite must for hiking, moutainbiking and 4x4 enthusiasts! It is one of the most awe-inspiring and spectacular of all the mountain ravines in the country.