Explore the rich history of a small Karoo community and the majestic landscape around it
Why was it possible to establish a farm where the village lies today? How could the community survive so isolated and in such a harsh landscape? Who was brave enough to build a road across the Swartberg mountain?
You do not have to be a historian to enjoy the many stories that tell our history! Apart from being enlightened about how early settlers made – and enjoyed – a life, you may even find out what a set of false teeth and a flying doctor have in common.
At Albert’s Mill flour was milled for more than 100 years…
Drive out along Christina de Wit Street towards the mountains and you will see the Mill on your left hand side, opposite the former Miller’s Restaurant. The restored wheel and over-shoot launder can be seen.
More information on the Mill at the Fransie Pienaar Museum.
The Fransie Pienaar museum gives a fascinating look into the history and culture of Prince Albert and its surroundings. It also holds the only local license to ‘stook Witblits’!
The museum is worth a visit with interesting displays that will give you a depth of perspective about Prince Albert.
Monday to Friday – 9:30 am to 12:30 pm and 2 pm to 4:30 pm
Saturday – 9:30 am to 12 pm
Sunday – 10:30 am to 11:30 am
Public Holidays – closed
Entrance: R 20 for adults and R 10 for children
The shop stocks a wide selection of books about the village and the district, olive products and the Museum’s own ‘witblitz’.
Gamkaskloof, also known as “Die Hel”, is a fascinating valley near Prince Albert, where a small, proud community lived in isolation for more than 100 years.
Access was on foot and horseback and harvests of dried fruit and wild honey were carried out by pack animals.
Legend has it that Gamkaskloof was discovered when trekboers lost their cattle and followed their spoor into the fertile valley.
Soaring cliff walls with spectacular rock formations line the 25 km tarred road which winds along the floor of the gorge through Meiringspoort, crossing the Groot River 25 times. Each crossing, or drift, has its own name and story.
The first road through Meiringspoort was constructed between 1856 and 1858 by Adam de Schmidt. On the morning of 3 March 1858 a colorful procession of about 250 mounted men and 100 distinguished guests in “spiders”, carriages and wagons departed through a triumphal arch decorated with flags for the journey to Klaarstroom – where a deputation of important guests from Prince Albert and Beaufort West awaited their arrival under another triumphal arch.
The Prince Albert Cultural Foundation plays an active and important role in preserving the history and culture of the area and was recognised as the most active and objective conservation body in the Western Cape for 2014 -2015.
The foundation occasionally offers an outing on the third Saturday of the month.
The topic might be of cultural, historical, pre-historical, geological, musical, culinary, or botanical interest – or a combination of several of the above!
Locals can join the Foundation for R40 per person per annum, children under 18 free!
Visitors are most welcome to attend outings, so if you are in Prince Albert join us to learn more about the village and the surrounding district. A small charge will be made for adults, there is no charge for children.
The village of Prince Albert sprang from the loan farm Queekvalleij, established by Zacharias and Dina de Beer in 1762. The fertile valley soon attracted other farmers, church services were held on the market square and by 1842 an NG church had been built and a thriving community established.
Prince Albert is fortunate to have a wealth of resources, put together through the years, about the history of the town and area.
A number of books and publications deal with various aspects of historic importance. Many shops stock these books, but the Fransie Pienaar Museum has the full collection.
Prince Albert lies at the entrance to the 27km Swartberg Pass, considered by many as one of the most spectacular mountain passes in the world: an untarred road winds to the summit 1 583 metres above sea level in steep zig-zags and sudden switchbacks, with breath-taking views at every turn.
The turn-off to Gamkaskloof lies near the summit of the pass.
The Pass offers visitors a wealth of opportunities to enjoy and marvel at the Swartberg Mountain and its amazing geology. Driving across the pass and stopping at different spots for the view is one way of taking in the splendour. Walking, running or cycling along the Pass road offers a whole different perspective.
Please remember that if you want to venture off the Pass onto one of the hiking trails, you need a permit. Please consult the section on Swartberg Nature Reserve Hikes.
Read more about the Swartberg Pass and its history.