Ceres, named after the Roman goddess of fertility, lies in a particularly fertile area of the Dwars River valley that receives a high rainfall. The valley is surrounded by the steeply rising and hardly accessible Skurve and Witzenberg mountain ranges. Farmers penetrated the area in 1727, but only after the opening of the spectacular Mitchell's Pass Road in the year 1848, did the town became accessible and began to flourish.
Ceres is the centre of the South African fruit and fruit juice production. The Ceres Fruit Juices Co-Operative produces excellent juice for the whole of southern Africa and provides the town with job opportunities and prosperity. One can visit the production plants and watch how the fruits are sorted and pressed and the juices bottled and packaged. Many fruit farms along the "Fruit Route" are open to visitors.
Ceres lies 130 kilometres north of Cape Town and formed an important halfway house for the diamond fields in Kimberley during the diamond rush in South Africa. An interesting stop is the 'Transport Riders Museum' (Togryers Museum) in Oranje Street. It exhibits a huge collection of horse and ox wagons, as used from 1880 until 1940, and documents of the 1969 earthquake, which destroyed numerous buildings in Ceres. In the summer months the museum is open from Monday to Saturday.
Photo on top: the old Toll House on the road up to Mitchell's Pass. Bottom: View of the fertile green valley of Ceres
The Old Toll House at the foot of the Michell's Pass makes for a lovely outing. In 1972, it was proclaimed a National Monument and today it houses a tea room and a popular restaurant.
The weather in Ceres is hot and dry during the summer months. However, during winter it can get very cold with temperatures falling below zero. Quite often there is snow on the mountains, an attraction for Capetonians, who then travel to Ceres in great numbers. More information to be found on the blue INFO page.