What You Need To Know
George is a city in the Western Cape province of South Africa. The city is a popular holiday and conference centre and the administrative and commercial hub of the Garden Route. The city is situated halfway between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth on the Garden Route. It is situated on a 10-kilometre plateau between the Outeniqua Mountains to the north and the Indian Ocean to the south. The township of Pacaltsdorp lies to the south.
Population: Estimate 159,750
Area: 83.8 km2
Festivals and events
Annually the town of George plays host to several local, national and international events.
George Old Car Show
The George Old Car Show started in 1997 on Paul Fick’s farm ”Blackwood” near Victoria Bay. A total of 80 cars were on show and food stalls were provided by the George Lions Club. The 2nd show was held at the George Riding Club in 1998 and approximately 250 cars and tractors were on show. The new car dealers were invited to display their latest models and the show was well supported by the public. Various displays like dog shows, gymnastics, a horse parade and a drive-by so that clubs could show off their cars, entertained the public. Arts in the park and food stalls as well as a well-stocked beer garden entertained those who were tired of looking at cars. A model car show was also laid on. The George Old Car Show was held at the riding club until 2000 when it once again ran out of space and had to seek larger grounds. The 4th George Old Car Show was moved to the P.W. Botha College in York Street, George. Ample space for show cars, tractors and motorcycles was available on the site as well as large grounds for public parking. The hostels are available for accommodation to exhibitors and a full-time arena program held the public’s attention. The school provided food stalls and the income benefited the school fund. The 8th [lGeorge Old Car Show was held in February 2004 and was by then rated as the 2nd largest motor show in South Africa and was supported by CAR Magazine. A total of 750 cars dated from 1901 to the latest models were on show. Forty restored tractors and a large variety of motorcycles were on show. The model car show proved to be more popular than ever and more than 5000 models were on display and for sale. The “arts in the park” had also evolved into a show of its own. Various motor clubs were in attendance. As this is not a static show all clubs had the opportunity to take part in the drive-by. The show has continued to grow, both in the number of exhibitors as well as in popularity with each successive year.
George Cheese Festival
An annual event held in Winter time since 2002, the George Cheese Festival has grown exponentially in its popularity. This popular family festival cater to both the seasoned & veteran cheese & wine enthusiasts. Cheese Makers, Wine Cellars & recently Choclatiers have presented their cheese, wine & chocolate pairings to the public over a three-day period. In 2013, the festival was expanded to include a Gala Evening to kick-off the start of the festival with a stage performance by Steve Hofmeyr.
Afrikaans, English and isiXhosa. are the Official languages
The majority of structures in George are limited to low-mid rise development, most of which is in the commercial sector. The tallest structure in George is the Sentech Tower, which is a radio and television transmitter tower located at the foot of the Outeniqua mountains () This is followed by the Telkom Tower located in the George CBD and the FAGG Radar Tower (55m) located at the George Airport. The tallest building in George is the airport radar tower. The concrete tower stands at 45m and 8 storeys (including the spherical radome, it stands at 55m). The George Medi-Clinic building (previously Lamprecht Clinic) stands at 40m and 8 storeys.
The Lake System
The lakes originated about 20 000 years ago during the Late Pleistocene at the end of the last era of ice ages which was largely centred in the northern hemisphere. Consequently, these lakes can be regarded as geologically relatively young. During that last glacial period, the sea-level dropped to about 130 m lower than at present as a result of the accumulation of ice in the northern hemisphere. Rivers then extended into the newly exposed coastal areas, cutting deep valleys into them. At the end of the last glacial period the sea-level rose again, drowning these newly formed valleys until, after a last slight rise and fall of sea-level, a level of about one to three metres above the present level was reached some 6 000 years ago. The sea level then slowly receded to reach the present level about 4 000 years ago. The partial draining of these valleys exposed part of the coastal area, thereby forming all the present Wilderness Lakes except for Langvlei and Rondevlei. Martin (1962) postulates the Langvlei could have been formed by wave erosion preceding the last rise in sea level while Rondevlei, during the same time, probably originated as a wind-deflating basin. Ruigtevlei, to the east of Swartvlei, was a lake that disappeared, leaving a large area that is only inundated after floods (Martin, 1960a). During this last change (drop) in sea level, the mouth of Swartvlei Estuary moved 2 km eastward to the present position at Sedgefield, Groenvlei lost its connection to the sea through the Swartvlei Estuary, and sand dunes now effectively covered any traces of a previous connection to the sea.
From the beginning of European colonisation in South Africa in 1652, timber and the provision of various woods was of paramount importance for the survival of the settlers. Once forest areas near the present Cape Town were exhausted, the search for more timber continued along the coast. The great forests of the Southern Cape were discovered as early as 1711, but because of their inaccessibility it was only in 1776 that the Dutch East India Company established a timber post where George is today. Early woodcutters and their families lived in forest clearings where they evolved into a closely knit community where intermarriage was common. The men were thin and wiry, but they were also tough and strong with an incredible skill in felling, sawing and handling timber. The utilization of the forest trees led to such industries as furniture and wagon making. By 1910 several large sawmills had been established in the district. Timber for export was transported to coastal ports by ox wagon. Today you will find sawmills with the ultimate in modern wood technology and innovative furniture factories in the Southern Cape. Unique to this area is the age-old technique and skill of manufacturing wood furniture by hand.
George is 420 km east of Cape Town along the N2 national road and 330 km west of Port Elizabeth.
There is no scheduled passenger service to George. Rovos Rail and the Union Limited however offer vintage train trips to the Garden Route. The Outeniqua Choo Tjoe steam train offered leisure rides between George and Mosselbay but closed in 2009.
George Airport (IATA code GRJ), situated approximately 7 km from the city centre, has scheduled flights to Cape Town International Airport, King Shaka International Airport (Durban), Bram Fischer International Airport (Bloemfontein) and OR Tambo International Airport(Johannesburg).
George has an oceanic climate, with warm summers, and mild to chilly winters. It is one of the highest rainfall regions in South Africa. Most rain falls in the winter and spring months, brought by the humid sea winds from the Indian Ocean.