Porterville is located on the slopes of the Olifants River Mountains a few kilometers south-east of Piketberg. Porterville was established in 1863 when Frederick John Owen, one of the original 1820 settlers, subdivided his farm. It was decided to name the settlement after the popular Attorney General of the Cape Colony, Sir William Porter.
There were numerous rivers and streams running down the Olifants River Mountains assisting the farmers in their highly fertile lands. The farmers originally concentrated on wheat and wine farming but more recently trout farming and wildflower industries have developed in this beautiful area.
The wet conditions in this area have resulted in the slopes of the mountains and vleis to be a natural home to the very scarce Disa uniflora. These plants thrive in cool areas close to cascades and waterfalls. The most common of the species is the Red Disa which has also been named ‘Pride of Table Mountain’ and ‘Flower of the Gods’. The Western Province Rugby Union uses this flower as their official emblem and is displayed on the players jerseys.
It is also claimed that the Porterville area is the only place in the world where the Yellow Disa is found. The Yellow Disa is very rare as the colour does not attract the Mountain Pride Butterfly and is consequently not pollinated to the same extent as the Red Disa.
Porterville is reputedly the best hang-gliding and para-gliding mecca in the world. The almost ever present thermals and the long stretch of mountainside provide extremely long rides, often in excess of 120 km. Enthusiasts from all over the world meet here at Daskop to experience these rides of a lifetime.
Other recreational activities include hiking and cycling trails, camping sites for visitors to the area and a range of sports facilities located next to the local dam. The museum is named after Jan Danckaert who crossed the Olifants River Mountains in 1660 as leader of an exploratory expedition despatched by Jan van Riebeeck. There are numerous Bushman paintings in caves and rock shelters near the summit of the mountain reached by Dasklip Pass.