Middelburg, Eastern Cape

Downtown Middelburg at dawn.
You’ll really like the people who live in and around Middelburg, the farming town set deep in the Karoo Heartland.

Consisting of a rich blend of English and Afrikaans, Xhosa and mixed race, the Middelburgers are indeed a busy lot.

If you see a young guy in khaki driving his bakkie through town, you’d be right to assume he’s a farmer. But he’s also a fabulous landscape photographer.

See that shop assistant over there? At night she sings with the Middelburg Harmony Voices, a satin-dressed ensemble of vocal stars.

The old Coca Cola factory on the edge of town is now a bustling wool goods-producing enterprise, sending duvets, pillows, foot warmers, underblankets and neck cushions to clients all over South Africa – especially to those living in the colder climes.

That senior citizen who looks like he might be enjoying his retirement with his feet up is actually the town historian, who beavers away at an ever-growing tome on Middelburg’s past.

Enter the leather shop on the main road and you’ll find out that donkey carts are making a comeback on the farms. The shop makes saddles, bridles, harnesses for horse and donkey, belts, buckles, boots and bags.

On the road to Cradock, you’ll come across the little wind pump crafter stalls. Pull over and let the man tell you exactly how he puts together this little icon of the Karoo.

One of the main features of Middelburg is the Grootfontein Agricultural College, which has an interesting museum where you can pick up on the Victorian-era lifestyle of early colonial inhabitants.

Out on the Steynsburg road, you’ll come across a rural community called Schoombee and a set of hills called Koffiebus (coffee canister) and Teebus (tea canister). This is where you’ll find Karoo Spoor, a collection of great farm stays and outdoor adventures.

locovers0001  Check out our newly-released e-Book, 101 Karoo Towns, HERE.

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  1. Pingback: Fifteen Feasting Places in the Karoo | Karoo Space

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