Malgas (formerly Malagaskraal) is a tiny village that was built around an inland port.
Before the roads between Swellendam and Cape Town were properly developed freight was shipped on a "coaster" from Malgas.
Mariners were able to navigate their vessels 50 km up the Breede River. The most famous of these ships was the 158 ton "Kadie" that belonged to Joseph Barry. She carried agricultural produce to Cape Town and brought back wares for the Barry commercial enterprises for six years until she stranded on the rocks in the river in 1865.
The vehicle pont at Malgas, the last still operational in South Africa, was for many years powered by one man, Oom Moxie Dunn. He harnassed himself to the standing cable and walked his conveyance across the water. Now two men provide the service which began in 1860.
Some of the original buildings and character remain but the village is mainly a weekend retreat and holiday spot. It is very close to the Potberg and De Hoop Nature Reserve.
De Hoop © Ian Turk
The central feature of the Malgas/Witsand area is the magnificent Breede River. It is one of the largest, most navigable rivers in South Africa and is rich in diverse species of fish and bird life. The Breede River is recognised as one of the best fishing estuaries in the country with tidal action that reaches 60 km upstream. The river is also ideally suited to a range of water sports.