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What To Do

Prince Albert is a place where you can delight in the simple pleasures of life: be it a panoramic Karoo sunset, a walk in the mountains, stargazing or sitting on rocks in the middle of a stream watching the water gushing past.

Although situated in the arid Karoo, there is a good water supply from the Swartberg Mountains. The village has a superb climate, a high sunshine index and spectacular night skies.

The town is known for its sun-ripened fresh and dried fruit, especially figs and apricots. Karoo lamb, olives, olive oil and cheese are local delicacies.

The Olive Festival takes place every April when the village entertains crowds of visitors at a street market, with delicious food, music, an art exhibition, competitions, a half-marathon and cycle race, and lots more.

Some of the interesting things to do in and around Prince Albert are:

Visit Gay's Dairy to taste her award winning cheese and stock up on yoghurt and milk from her Guernsey herd.

At the Fransie Pienaar Museum you can learn about Prince Albert's story from prehistoric times to today; the Anglo-Boer War; our gold rush; how the Swartberg Pass pass was built; enjoy guided historical walks and much more. Here you can also obtain details and permits for day hikes in the Swartberg Pass.

Art Galleries - Prince Albert boasts an Art Gallery and the Bricca Bracca Browserie where local artists and crafters display their creations.

Koppie Walk - the hill behind Prince Albert is a nature reserve open to all, with a wonderful one- to two-hour walk.

The Story Weaver - Ailsa will take you on a walk through the village or along the koppie to tell you Prince Albert's tales. Or join her for an evening Ghost Walk, where you hear stories about the village ghosts. If you're not into walking Ailsa can join you for a pre-dinner drink to tell her stories.

The Swartberg Pass - the world-famous 27km pass lies at the entrance of Prince Albert. An untarred road winds to the summit 1 583 metres above sea level in steep zig-zags and sudden switchbacks. The entrance is through a narrow Cape sandstone kloof where the sky is drawn upwards by the convoluted rock faces to the sparkling sky above. The only sounds are bubbling water and birdsong. There are several picnic spots near the river where you can stop and absorb the peace and splendour. Watch out for black eagles and klipspringers. There are a number of options for hiking in the Swartberg Mountains, from day hikes to a demanding five-day hike.

Carpet weaving - for 100% wool hand-woven carpets, jerseys, mohair blankets and products visit Wolskuur Spinners in the village. They also sell handcrafted African felt wall-hangings, handmade slippers, wood carvings and jewellery. Their pure wool carpets are produced in the village and can be shipped worldwide.

Gem collection - view the spectacular private Barella gem collection, one of the most important private collections of precious and semi-precious stones and minerals in the southern hemisphere.

Albert's Mill - this historical watermill is being restored and will soon be fully operational.

Outa Lappies - voted Western Cape Tourism Personality of the Year in 2000, Outa Lappies (Jan Schoeman) lives 42km outside Prince Albert at Prince Albert Road, en route to the N1. Outa, who got his name because he sews his clothes together from scraps of material, believes that nothing should go to waste. He recycles garbage into into extraordinary artworks, lamps and embroidery.

The Tannery and Leatherman - see hand-made leather slippers, fur hats, waistcoats and tanned skins of every variety.

Dinosaur footprints - see where the dinosaurs roamed when the Karoo was a great inland sea.

Oudtshoorn - visit the ostrich capital of the world (106km via Meiringspoort, shorter over the Swartberg Pass), home to one of the natural wonders of the world, the Cango Caves. 

Not far from Prince Albert lies Beaufort West, the birthplace and resting ground of one of South Africa's most famous sons, Professor Christiaan Barnard. The town has a museum dedicated to the pioneering heart surgeon. Visit the Karoo National Park on the outskirts of the town.

Calitzdorp - known as the Port capital of South Africa. This is where the annual Calitzdorp Port Festival is held during the last weekend of July. The scenic route over the Swartberg Pass via the Groenfontein Valley to Calitzdorp is well worth the trip.

The Garden Route resorts and beaches lie a two-hour drive to the south. Oudtshoorn, the Cango Caves and the Karoo National Park are just an hour's drive away.

Gamkaskloof, The Hell is a secluded valley of legends, accessed from the peak of the Swartberg Pass. Before the road constructed in 1963 opened the valley, Gamaskloof attained fame as one of the world's most unique isolated communities. Sadly the road has been closed for a few months due to severe rain damage in August 2004.