Bredasdorp was established in 1828 as a Dutch Reformed centre on the Langefontein farm. It was named after a local farmer who promoted the project, Michiel van Breda.
Van Breda and another leading personality, Pieter Voltelyn van der Byl, could not agree where the church should be built. As a result two churches were built, and two towns, Napier and Bredasdorp developed.
Van Breda was the first mayor of Cape Town and also a member of the Cape Legislative Assembly. Bredasdorp is the hub of a dairy, wool and wheat farming region.
Bredasdorp is home to the Bredasdorp Shipwreck Museum that features many of the ships wrecked along the Agulhas Bank. More than 120 wrecks have been recorded on this treacherous stretch of coast that is the southernmost tip of Africa. The museum is housed in the original farm homestead and is the only museum of its kind in South Africa.
There are several other spots of historical significance in Bredasdorp. The Audrey Blignaut Room at the tourism bureau is an exhibition in honour of the well known essayist who wrote mainly about Bredasdorp.
The Dutch Reformed Church is an impressive example of Cape-Gothic architecture. The nearby Rhenosterfontein farm has an ancient Milkwood tree that is a National Monument and near the farm Nacht Wacht, on the way to Waenhuiskrans, is the first protective fence ever erected to help save the Bontebok from extinction (1837).
At the foot of the Bredasdorp mountains lies the Heuningberg Nature Reserve where the red Bredasdorp lily and many fynbos species are found. There are several hiking trails in the reserve. In October each year the Foot of Africa Marathon (Voet van Afrika) event and festival is held. Athletes take the demanding route over the mountains from Bredasdorp to Napier.
De Hoop Nature reserve, the flagship of Cape Nature Conservation, is nearby with 1 500 different plants and nearly 800 vertebrate animal species. There are various hiking and mountain biking trails on the reserve and whales can be seen from June to November at Koppie Alleen and Infanta.
Also close to Bredasdorp is De Mond Nature Reserve that has a number of wonderful hiking trails.
Photo credits:© Julie Morris