Ceres was established in 1854 and was originally on the farm owned by Jan Frederik Munnik and was named after the Roman Goddess of Agriculture. It lies in a fertile valley surrounded by the Hex River, Witsenberg and Skurweberg. These mountains surrounding Ceres receive some of the heaviest snowfalls anywhere in the Cape. Ceres is often called the “Switzerland of South Africa”.
Skiers are attracted to the Matroosberg which at 2 250 m is the highest peak in the Hex River range. It is a wonderful sight to see the high peaks of the mountains covered in snow while the Ceres basin itself is covered with the blossoms of a multitude of fruit trees. Tourists are well catered for with several Hotels, Guest Farms, Bed and Breakfast accommodation and a Camping area with bungalows and picnic sites. There is a nature reserve and a municipal recreation area and swimming pool.
The Ceres Nature Reserve encompassing 33 ha is located on the slopes of the Witsenberg at the northern entrance to Michell’s Pass. Numerous Bushman Paintings can be seen in the rock shelters in this area. This fertile Ceres valley has a multitude of rivers, streams and dams which are populated with innumerable rainbow trout – a fly-fisherman’s delight. The climate is ideal, warm for most of the year and cold in winter, for the cultivation of deciduous fruit like apples, peaches, pears, plums and apricots. Much of the export market is supplied by this area. The branch railway line from Wolseley reached Ceres through Michell’s Pass in 1912. This line was then extended to reach Prince Alfred Hamlet, the terminus, in 1929. View Larger Map