Clanwilliam is one of the oldest towns in South Africa. In 1732, the Voortrekkers, the first Dutch farmers, settled along the Olifants River and in 1820, the English administration of the Cape established a Magistrate's Court here. In the beginning, the settlement grew very slowly, and a fire in 1901 destroyed almost all of the houses.
At the same time the dam makes for great watersports for tourists. Many Capetonians come here especially on the weekends to drive motorboats or waterski.
Photo left: The Clanwilliam Dam at the Olifants River. Top: The striking Dutch Reformed Church in Clanwilliam. Bottom: View of Clanwilliam before the background of the Cedarberg.
Today, Clanwilliam is a flourishing town and the centre of Rooibos tea production which grows exclusively in the sandy valleys of the Cedarberg. It is being centrally marketed in Clanwilliam.
Wine and citrus is also grown here. The fertile soil could only be intensively used, after a dam was constructed at the lower Olifants River. Its water runs through a wide-spread canal system to the fields.