Uniondale Tourist Attractions
The Little Karoo’s best kept secret, Uniondale on the R62, is to be found in a surprisingly green valley, surrounded by hills. The Kamanassie and Kouga mountains watch silently over this little farming town, and in the distance - the mighty Swartberg becomes the horizon.
Visitors to Uniondale are delighted with the diversity, stunning scenery, magical flora and incredible geology. Our beautiful historical buildings include seven national monuments. There is so much to see and do. Play a round of golf or go walking, cycling, and hiking. Visit our restaurants, coffee shops, antique shop and art gallery. We even have a dinner theatre or pub on Friday and Saturday nights. Meet the local characters who will tell you wonderful stories about the town and answer your questions about our ghost.
Nearby, there are San rock paintings dating back 3,000 years, birding, trout fishing, mountain biking, scenic gravel roads and botanic routes, game drives, hunting, and horse riding.
Uniondale is a popular cycling destination. The 100km Karoo to Coast mountain bike race from Uniondale to Knysna through the Prince Alfred’s Pass is held annually in September. A regular fixture in the American Saddle Horse calendar, the Uniondale Agricultural Show is held in October.
Originally laid out as a township in 1856 by the land surveyors Garcia and Melville, the area eastwards from the Court House was named Hopedale, and the upper portion of the township, westwards from that point, was called Lyon. The first Dutch Reformed and Mission churches were erected about the year 1856.
Industries such as wagon and cart building and furniture making were largely carried on in the village of Uniondale in the 1870's. Many new wagons and carts were sent out, and many loads of furniture and produce such as wheat, mealies, beans, potatoes, dried fruits of various kinds and tobacco were sent into the interior and sold or bartered for cattle and for reeding and slaughter stock. Great numbers of stock, small and large were imported into the district and sold in the village and district at a a good profit. This kin of trade was carried on for many years. Farmers in the Lang Kloof area of the district had to travel long distances to find a market for their produce, owing to the absence of railway facilities.
During the 1880's ostriches and the building of houses in the village of Uniondale and district were the chief ventures. The Divisional Council was established in 1889 as part of George district, and the few roads in the Uniondale area were kept in repair by he George Divisional Council. The main roads were those between Knysna and Willowmore, Outshoorn to Willowmore, George and Humansdorp, Uniondale to George along the Kamanassie Valley. The road from Uniondale, over the mountain to Avontuur and onwards to Knysna, was built in 1865. The new road between Uniondale and Avontuur Station, through the "Poort" was commenced in September 1925 and was complete in September 1926.
A branch of the Standard Bank was opened here in 1880, but was closed in 1886, to be reopened in 1903. The National Bank opened a local branch in or about 1911.
The Salvation Army pioneers came to Uniondale in 1886 and the following year the Hall was put up. The Salvation Army officers were withdrawn in 1897.
The Gaol, including Gaoler's quarters, was erected in 1906.
Electricity came to Uniondale in 1935. Until paraffin lamps lit the streets from sundown to 11pm. The last lamp lifghter was Olof Berg, whose job was to light each lamp, and make sure there was enough paraffin in each lamp to last until around 11pm.