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Moravian Church Circa 1891

Exploring Genadendal

I was asked by my colleague Dacre, who is the Cape Medley Tours agency in the Eastern Cape, if we can do a day trip to see Genadendal. I was happy as it’s somewhere new to explore! So we set off for a day in the country traveling along the N2 over Sir Lowery’s Pass to our first stop, Peregrine Farm Stall. For those who have not stopped here, a treat awaits you! Part of holidaymakers journey since 1964, Peregrine has been serving generations of travellers seeking honest homemade fare and warm country hospitality. Situated in the beautiful and fertile Elgin Valley, Peregrine offers an abundance of locally sourced artisanal goods and wholesome, responsibly farmed, fresh produce.

After a delicious coffee, we carried on towards Caledon. 15 km before Caledon, you turn off at the sign-post marked Genadendal/Greyton. The road takes you through wheat farms and after half an hour you get to Genadendal (dutch word for “Valley of Grace”).

Genadendal has a rich spiritual history and was the first mission station in southern Africa. It was founded by Georg Schmidt, a German missionary of the Moravian Church, who settled on 23 April 1738 in BaviaansKloof (Ravine of the Baboons) in the Riviersonderend Valley and began to evangelise among the Khoi people. Many thought that mission work among the Khoisan was attempting the impossible, but in spite of this Schmidt prevailed. He became acquainted with an impoverished and dispersed Khoi people who were practically on the threshold of complete extinction. Apart from the few Kraals, which still remained, there were already thirteen farms in the vicinity of BaviaansKloof. Within a short while Schmidt formed a small Christian congregation. He taught the Khoi to read and write, but when he began to baptise his converts there was great dissatisfaction among the Cape Dutch Reformed Church clergy. According to them, Schmidt was not an ordained minister and as such, was not permitted to administer the sacraments. Consequently, he had to abandon his work, and in 1744, after seven years at BaviaansKloof, he left the country.

After a lovely visit we drove another 5 km onto Greytown, one of my favorite towns. Because it’s winter, all the tree-lined streets did not look their best, but it’s still a quaint town. I wanted to look up an old school friend which was great. Richard Von Geusau who makes the famous Von Geusau Fine handcrafted Belgian chocolates. The creation of his fine artisanal product begins with the best couvertures from Belgium. This chocolate is distinguished by its high cocoa content and absence of artificial flavours and vegetable fats. Each chocolate is meticulously handmade using only the finest original ingredients – fresh cream, roasted nuts and exotic liqueurs, to mention a few. Specifically, and in contrast to these more traditional chocolates, the range boasts those spectacular combinations of spicy and aromatic ingredients and flavours that have become the Von Geusau legend.

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This is an easy day tour from Cape Town, so when you are next on holiday, or simply want to do something different, call us and let’s travel this route together.