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Encyclopedia > George, Western Cape

George is the administrative capital of the Western Cape Province, South Africa. It has a population of approximately 90,000. Capital Cape Town Largest city Cape Town Area  - Total Ranked 4th 129,370 km² Premier Ebrahim Rasool (ANC) Population   - 2001   - 1996   - Density Ranked 5th 4,524,335 3,956,875 35/km² (2001) Languages Afrikaans (55. ...

George is a popular holiday and conference centre.



The town is very centrally situated: halfway between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth and centre of the Garden Route.It is situated on a 10 kilometre plateau between the majestic Outeniqua Mountain to the north and the Indian ocean to the South. City motto: Spes Bona (Latin: Good Hope) Province Western Cape Mayor Nomaindia Mfeketo Area  - % water 1,644 km² 0. ... Port Elizabeth is a city in South Africa, situated in the Eastern Cape Province, at 33°58′ S 25°36′ E. The city is located on Algoa Bay, and is one of the major seaports in South Africa. ... The Garden Route is a popular and scenic stretch of the southern coast of South Africa. ...


The Garden Route has a Mediterranean Maritime climate, with moderately hot summers, and mild to chilly winters. It is one of the richest rainfall areas, most of which occurs in the winter months, brought by the humid sea-winds from the Indian ocean. Any time of the year is good for visiting the area, depending if you enjoy a peaceful retreat during the winter months, or a bustling holiday destination during the summer.


George is the sixth oldest town in South Africa - the first founded under British rule - and was named after the reigning monarch in 1811, King George III. The Outeniqua forests were the reason the Dutch East India Company, in 1776, established a woodcutters outpost on the site of what became George in 1811.It was declared a drostdy by the Earl of Caledon on 23 April 1811. George gained municipal status in 1837.


George has an extremely sophisticated infrastructure with banks, conference facilities, businesses, major shopping chains, transport and sporting facilities, yet retaining its small town and country atmosphere of peace and tranquility. The town is also a major accommodation centre with a vast array of facilities on offer to suite every taste and pocket.

George has many historical landmarks to be visited. Like The Slave Tree, an ancient English Oak planted by Landdrost van Kervel. Known as the Slave Tree because of the very large chain and lock embedded in the trunk, it has been declared a national monument. And the King Edward VII Library building is said to be the best example of Edwardian architecture in George.

The First Class School for girls was started by Miss Christina Petronella van Niekerk, a "New Age" young lady with visions for the future which were very different to those ideas held by the conservative population of George.

George is often used a base to explore Tsitsikamma National Park.

The Outeniqua Choo Tjoe is South Africa's last scheduled mixed steam train service and operates on the Outeniqualand Preserved Railway between George and Knysna in the heart of the Garden Route. Opened in 1928 and declared a preserved line in July 1993, this train winds its way through some of the most picturesque scenery in the country. The Outeniqua Choo Tjoe is the last remaining continually-operated passenger steam train in Africa, still running six days of the week. ...

The Outeniqua Transport Museum houses a large collection of steam locomotives and carriages dating back to bygone years.

The Garden Route Botanical Garden taking shape at the top of Caledon Street offers year-round opportunities to admire the brilliance of the local flora. The Garden Route boasts the largest continuous natural forest area in South Africa, covering some 650 kmĀ². Marketable timber is harvested from 20% of the State forest. Stinkwood, named for its unmistakable odour when freshly cut, is highly prized by the furniture industry, as are white pear, hard pear, ironwood and assegaai. The most sought after timber is the Outeniqua Yellowwood (Podocarpus falcatus).


Pacaltsdorp Church is the oldest in the George district, completed in 1825. The Norman-style church has thick stonewalls and features a tall square tower topped by battlements. Across the road the little mud house in which the first missionary, Charles Pacalt of the London Missionary Society, lived after arriving in 1813.

The Dutch Reformed Mother Church was consecrated in 1842 after taking 12 years to build with its 23 metre domed tower and 1 metre thick walls. It was constructed by a supervisor and a number of skilled slaves who continued to work as 'apprentices' after the emancipation of slaves in 1834. Completed in 1843, St Peter & St Paul Catholic Church in Meade Street is the oldest Catholic Church in South Africa. St Mark's Cathedral, built in 1850, attained cathedral status in 1911. It was the smallest cathedral in the southern hemisphere until extensions in 1924-25. The nave is the oldest section. Its most distinctive feature is the number of stained glass windows in relation to its size.

Further education

George is the tertiary hub of the Southern Cape, with the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, together with a number of private colleges, offering a variety of first choice courses.

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), George Campus - the campus with a difference. Offers two centers of excellence - Saasveld, known as the Centre for Renewable Resource Management and Hurteria, known as the Centre for Business and Information Technology studies.


Getting to George by car: From Cape Town: Travel along the N2 national road in an easterly direction for approximately 420 km (4 to 5 hours drive) Alternatively travel along the N1 to Ashton and take the R60 to Swellendam. Turn easterly onto the N2 at Swellendam and travel another 220 km to George. From Port Elizabeth: Travel along the N2 national road in a westerly direction for approximately 330 km (3 to 4 hours drive)

Getting to George by train: No scheduled passenger service to George. Rovos Rail and the Union Limited however offer vintage train trips to the Garden Route. The Outeniqua Choo Tjoe steam train offers leisure rides between George and Knysna.

Getting to George by airplane: Travel from Cape Town, Durban or Johannesburg International Airports to George Airport, situated approximately 7 km from the city centre. George Airport is an airport located in George, South Africa. ...

Local government

Executive Mayor : Bazil Petrus (DA) Executive Deputy Mayor : Philip H de Swardt (DA)

External Links

Official town website

  Results from FactBites:
Encyclopedia: George, Western Cape (285 words)
George is the administrative capital of the Western Cape Province, South Africa.
George is a town in Western Cape, South Africa, situated on the Garden Route between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth.
George Bed and Breakfast is situated in a quiet suburb of George about 1 km from the centre of town.
  More results at FactBites »



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