Prince Albert, Central Karoo
The minute you drive into Prince Albert you know you have reached a special place. The main street is flanked by well preserved Victorian and Karoo architecture, of which 13 buildings are national monuments. Although an arid region, the Swartberg Mountains are not only a magnificent backdrop, but also supply the town with plenty of water, fed in furrows, creating an oasis of gardens and orchards. The climate, with a high sunshine index and spectacular night skies is ideal for visitors to enjoy the great outdoors and spectacular sunsets – and then there is the tranquility of the karoo silence to replenish your soul.
Prince Albert is also known for its sun-ripened fresh and dried fruit, especially figs and apricots. In the Prince Albert Valley, to the south of the village, farmers have restored vineyards last farmed in the 19th century. Karoo lamb, olives, olive oil and cheese are local delicacies.
Wander down the main street to Gay’s dairy to buy your milk, cream and yoghurt; visit the Saturday market for fruit and vegetables picked that morning, fresh baked bread and homemade jams; take a guided historical walk through the town; a ramble along the “Gordon’s koppie”; a ghost walk in the evening; star tours; a visit to the Prince Albert Gallery, where numerous South African artists display their work; visit local shops like the weavery or take in some history at the delightful Fransie Pienaar Museum where a local farmer distills “Witblits”.
Drive the Swartberg Pass to Oudtshoorn or better still, take a picnic and visit the amazing Gamkaskloof (The Hel) or drive to Oudtshoorn via Meiringspoort Pass and De Rust. These day trips are ranked among the top in South Africa.
To reach Prince Albert, drive the ShowMe R62 Self Drive Route for a spectacular trip.
There is ample guest house, B&B and self-catering accommodation to suit all preferences and pockets.
The Prince Albert Olive Festival is held in April when the village entertains crowds of visitors to a street market, delicious food, music, an art exhibition, open homes and gardens, competitions, a half marathon, cycle race and lots more.