Ladismith, Western Cape, South Africa

Ladismith Cheese Festival bicycle ride.

Ladismith known as 'the jewel of the Klein Karoo' and is located at the foot of the Klein Swartberg Mountain range in the Klein Karoo. Cape Town, Oudtshoorn, George, Mossel Bay and Port Elizabeth are all connected to Ladismith via tar roads.

Both Ladysmith and Ladismith were named after Lady Juana Smith, the wife of Sir Harry Smith, governor of the Cape at the time. Ladysmith was previously Natal, was founded in 1850, whereas Ladismith, in what was then the Cape, was founded in 1852. Both were spelt the same, so, with Ladysmith having priority, Ladismith changed the spelling of its name to avoid confusion. It has not really helped much, as most people as still confused.

Ladismith offers a variety of architectural styles, which can be seen in the old building of Ladismith, from neo-Gothic to Victorian, to the typical Ladismith style of square with round vents at the front. The town boasts a variety of churches, including the Lutheran church and the Dutch Reformed church designed by Otto Hager.

Ladismith is a rich farming community, and produces fruit (exports grapes, apricots and plums), milk (for 2 cheese factories), wine, flowers and mutton. Ladismith produces about a third of South Africa's apricots.

Ladismith is located in the Klein Karoo, and is considered as the gateway of the R62. It is set under the majesty of Towerkop, offering visitors wonderful hikes, wineries and the usual collection of guest houses and coffee shops. Ladismith is on the R62, about 100 kilometres (60 miles) west of Oudtshoorn.

Ladismith is also home to a wide variety of game, including Gray Reedbuck, Klipspringer and occasional Kudu, Cape Mountain Zebra, Steenbok, Duiker, Red Hartebeest, Eland, Springbok and many other smaller species. Baboons are also common, with Leopard being an occasional and most welcome visitor. Tortoise, Boomslang, Puff Adders, Cape Cobra and various other reptiles are also found in abundance.

One of Ladismith's most popular attractions has got to be Seweweekspoort (Seven Weeks Poort). It is a must for hiking, mountain biking and 4X4 enthusiasts. It is one of the most dramatic and awe inspiring of all the mountain ravines in the country.

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