Piketberg is located at the foot of the Piketberg mountain range. The name originates from the old Dutch word ‘picquet’ as a small military outpost or ‘pickets’ were posted here in the 1670’s to protect the farmers from cattle rustling raids by the Kogikwa Khoikhoi led by Gonnema. These mountains were once a stronghold of the Bushmen and San rock art can be found in numerous shelters scattered high up in the mountains. Two Moravian mission stations were situated on the slopes of the mountain. The highest peak at 1459 m is Zebra Kop.
Op-die-Berg (‘on the mountain’) is one of the best known cultivated plateaux in the country and is renowned for its apples, pears and peaches. J. Versfeld built the first pass to reach this plateau in 1899. More recently, the plateau has become well known for its export quality proteas and buchu herbs grown here. At the foot of Versfeld’s pass is an old water mill which is on the farm Deze Hoek (‘this corner’) and is a national monument. Similar mills were used in this region. Another national monument is the beautiful Dutch Reformed church built in the 1880’s and was designed by Carl Otto Hager in the neo- Gothic style. Sir Herbert Baker designed a home in the shape of a castle and it now serves as a hotel. It is located on the slopes of the mountain near De Hoek.
Originally, cannons were mounted on the summit of Piketberg to signal the community of impending danger or the arrival of ships in Table Bay. Piketberg attracted many Jewish settlers who had come from Lithuania. There was soon a thriving community and their original synagogue now serves as the local tourism information centre.