|One of the attractions of George is the famous Outeniqua Hiking Trail, which takes a good 8 days to traverse. The walk takes you on a 37 kilometres track through the gorgeous Outeniqua Mountains - starting at the Witfontein forest station near George and ending at the Diepwalle forest station near Knysna. You can also go to the Outeniqua Pass at 799m, if you choose. It has interestingly contrasting views of lush greenery and the dry Little Karoo area. Another option is the Seven Passes Road which used to run between George and Knysna.
George is among the oldest towns in the country. It was first called Georgetown in 1811 after King George III. It was Anthony Trollope, who called George ‘the prettiest village on the face of the earth’. The George of today, with oak-lined avenues against a mountainous backdrop, still makes the grade.
When you are in George, make sure you take a ride on the Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe, a narrow-gauge steam train that starts from here and goes through to Knysna. Look out for the point at which the train crosses the River Kaaimans. You will see how the water has carved a deep cleft in the stone, a short while before the river meets the Indian Ocean. While in Knysna, you may want to sample some oysters at the Oyster Company. And, perhaps even wash down this kingly meal with a glass of local Cuvee Brut.
There are some memorable and historical sights to explore in George. There is a very old English Oak that was planted by Landdrost van Kervel. This national monument is called the Slave Tree because of the enormous lock and chain buried in its trunk. If you admire old buildings, the King Edward VII Library is a classical Edwardian construction well worth seeing. And take a peep at the pulpit in the 1842 Dutch Reformed Church of Saints Peter and Paul – it is made of stinkwood, while the pillars and dome of the church are constructed of yellowwood.
Visit the George Museum, to learn about local history and to see a fine set of musical instruments. The First Class School for Girls was a dream turned into reality by the visionary Christina Petronella van Niekerk.
Nature enthusiasts should see the Van Kervel Nature Reserve. Spread over an area of nine hectares, the reserve supports a large variety of native flora. George is surrounded by rich farmlands, whose main crop is hops. An unusual excursion would include a visit to one of these hop harms, to learn about cultivation and gain an insight into farm life. Or take a trip to Bado Kidogo, an exotic parrot farm or the George Crocodile Farm for a closer look at these fascinating reptiles.
Golfers can enjoy an excellent game at the award-winning Oubaai Golf Course while water enthusiasts can swim, surf, scuba dive or even take an oceanic excursion to do a bit of whale watching!