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The Village and its History

  • About 400 years ago the Qua and later the Houteniqua (Strandloper) peoples lived in the Nature’s Valley area.

    After the completion of the Groot River pass by Thomas Bain in the 1880’s, three families settled in the valley.

    Later, Hendrik Barnardo became the sole owner of all the land which he then farmed. He allowed the first holiday shack to be erected in 1918 and in 1936 sold about 250,000 square metres to a syndicate of nine families.

    A township was declared in 1953. Electricity was connected only in 1986. Today the village comprises the original 426 erven with 397 houses, the majority being wooden structures.

    Although most are used as holiday homes, permanent residents live on about 40 of the properties.

  • The pristine, quiet, respectful ‘sense of place’ so cherished by the community has motivated numerous successful efforts to stop potentially environmentally damaging, socially inappropriate and aesthetically offensive developments. Those between 1953 & 2013 are recorded by Jeanne Biesenbach in her paper celebrating the village's 60th anniversary (click on the link).

    The nearest other small community is in Covie, on the beautiful fynbos covered plateau 8km to the East, where one hundred or so people live.

    See Street & Erf Number Map

    See Illustrated Celebration of Major Events 1953 - 2013

    See 'Nature's Valley History' (excerpt from NVT Status Report, 2000)

    See 'The Story of Nature's Valley' - Part 1 (copyright NVT)

    See 'The Story of Nature's Valley' - Part 2 (copyright NVT)

The village taking shape in 1960 - the earlier farming areas remain visible