I’ve seen many small town museums in South Africa but the one in Genadendal in the Western Cape is one of the better ones, if not; The Best!
Genadendal is neglected by the tourism industry and maybe that’s good; I don’t like ‘tourism traps’ and this oldest mission station (founded in 1738) of the African Continent still breaths as life stood still for a few centuries. Once taken the turn into Genadendal (between Caledon and Greyton in the Western Cape, South Africa) follow the signs to the old village and disappear from the contemporary world in this open air museum. In this living history museum you will find amongst others a working water mill, a blacksmith, woodworker, potter and paper making. In the ‘print museum’ one can discover that printing in the old days was more complicated than a click on the mouse. And there is more like a visit to the Moravian Church, the museum (with 25 exhibition rooms), the herb garden, the honey maker, etc. etc. Oh … and whatt about the oldest fire-engine and oldest pipe-organ of South Africa?
Take a day or so… Genadendal (meaning: ‘Mercy Valley’) is a 90 minutes drive (rural pace) from central Cape Town. Tourists, once escaped the Mother City to the other side of the mountain, tend not to return to Cape Town except to the airport… 😉
An impression in 25 pictures:
Some photo’s I made at Hemingway’s in Hermanus. You might ask yourself if this is a book shop or a museum? It’s described as one of the ‘must visit spots’ in the new Louis Vuitton City Guide of Cape Town. Funny enough Hermanus is NOT in Cape Town but 120 odd kilometers East of the Mother City..
One of the finest educational museums to visit in the Western Cape, South Africa is the one dedicated to the Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias (sometimes written as Diaz) in Mossel Bay. The nice thing is the lack of coffee corners, restaurants and ‘Made in China’ souvenir shops but somewhere hidden within the museum is a shop with locally made crafts related to the museum and the town. Coffee and food outlets are plenty nearby.
In the centre of the museum is a big hall with in it a replica of the vessel the explorer discovered Mossel Bay in 1588. Most pictures in this photo-gallery show details of this vessel. Lots of ropes… But there is plenty more of curiosities to experience!
Remember our recent road trip off the beaten track (‘the real South Africa journey begins >100 km beyond Cape Town’). One of the places we (me and Yvonne) visited was Matjiesfontein and the most valuable memories we’ve composed in one portrait of a village. Most impressive for us were the wind pump and the entertaining family on the station. But also local guide Geert Jan Teunissen on the piano in the local pub is in our hearts. Matjiesfontein is a museum village build, in the 1880-thies around a train station along the railway that connects Cape Town with Pretoria. The present owner has conserved the village and surrounding farms to the way it was a 100 years ago. All pictures taken and processed with the equipment as described in the ‘gear-page’ of this blog.