This small quiet hideaway in the Klein Karoo is situated on a gravel road on the R327, 42km from Ladismith and 75km over the Garcia Pass to Riversdale. The town was established in 1839 as a Dutch Reformed Church parish, on the farm Buffelsfontein which was owned by Gerrit van Wyk. The name Van Wyksdorp was a result of the large number of Van Wyk residents in the area. During the years of the ostrich boom, it was the centre of education in the Little Karoo. The school was built in 1912; at one time the school had well over 200 pupils, who came in from all the surrounding towns.
Van Wyksdorp is a rural village situated in the valley between the Langeberg and Rooiberg mountain ranges. The town can only be accessed on a gravel road. The Rooiberg Pass leads you 45km towards Calitzdorp and the Cloete and du Plessis passes 81km towards Herbertsdale. These three passes are gravel and very popular with mountain bikers and off road motorbikes.
Vanwyksdorp is the principal village of the area known as Kannaland and is renowned for its dried flower industry. Wild flowers are harvested from the mountain sides, dried, dyed and exported. Stock is also present in this farming community with some of the popular stock being angora goats, sheep, cattle and ostriches. Crop farming includes fruit; and particularly apricots are grown in the area.
The source of water for the village is a mountain spring known as ‘the eye’, a fault in the Rooiberg Mountain Range. The railway links which were made in the 1920’s to Ladismith and Riversdale caused these towns to grow, whilst Van Wyksdorp slowly shrunk to its present state. The town has a population of about 2,000 people that includes the surrounding villages and farms.
Popular tourism activities include 4×4 trails, hiking trails, mountain biking and camping (possible on farms and bush camping in stone houses next to the Groot River). Stargazing is a popular pastime and the sunsets are amazing. Bird-watching is good and the area has abundant wildlife.
Attractions in Van Wyksdorp:
- Game viewing;
- Assegaaibosch Ranch;
- Bird-watching; and