Steeped in history, Genadendal – Valley of Grace – was established by the young missionary George Schmidt in 1738. Schmidt was sent here by the Moravian Church to preach the gospel to the Khoi people. He also taught the Khoi to read and write, but when he started to baptise his converts the Cape reformed clergy became irate. After seven years of hard work he finally had to abandon his post and leave the country and the people he grew to love.
Genadendal is the oldest Moravian mission village in Africa, and it contains church buildings and a school that dates all the way back to 1738. As you enter the scenic town, you are overwhelmed with a feeling of timeless remembrance.
The main attraction is the Mission Museum that lies amidst the shelter of age-old oak trees. The museum has been declared a National Cultural Treasure. And the Moravian Church is famous for its choir and brass band performances.
Another main attraction is the old mission presses in the Old Print Shop – known to be some of the oldest presses in South Africa - and Genadendal’s Water Mill lets you taste bread made from stone-ground flour and baked in open-air ovens.
For hiking enthusiasts, Genadendal offers a spectacular 25.3 km circular hiking route through the Riviersonderend Mountains. The trail provides scenic views of the Overberg. On the first day you’d do about 14.3 km past the two pools at Groot and Klein Koffiegat, ending at Die Hoek Farm. The farm offers overnight accommodation, but bookings are essential. On the next day you’d do the remaining 11 km returning to Genadendal.
The best time to go on this hike is in autumn and spring, when hiking conditions are excellent. On the hike you are very likely to encounter numerous klipspringers, grey rhebok, caracal and possibly even leopard along with black eagles, sugarbirds and sunbirds.
For outdoor and history enthusiasts alike, Genadendal will be well worth the visit.