West Coast - South Africa
Main Road Hopefield
Hidden away in the Swartland half way between Malmesbury and Vredenberg is the little town of Hopefield.
It's one of those places that if you blink as you approach the town you will be past it.
The town has one main feature that catches your eye as you drive along the R45 road to Vredenberg and that is the local Dutch Reformed Church.
If it was not for the DRC church and its parish which was established in 1851 the town would not be here today.
The town started in 1844 on the farm Lange Kuil which is situated along the banks of the Zoutrivier.
In May 1853 after a small village had grown up on the farm Lange Kuil permission was granted in the Government Gazette for a town to be established there.
It was named Hopefield in honour of Secretary of the Government and Receiver of Revenue at the time.
Dutch Reformed Church Hopefield
For the first 33 years of its existence the parish had no church building and eventually in January 1877 the corner stone of the church was laid.
With the growing community in Hopefield the church was soon in need of extra space so in about 1910 two new wings and the steeple of the church were added.
At the same time a new Forster & Andrews organ (one of only ten in South Africa) was also added.
The enlarged church was inaugurated in December 1911.
From the time of the establishment of the town till 1914 when
the town was declared a Municipality the church maintained jurisdiction over all matters of the town.
It even overruled the management committee elected by the inhabitants of Hopefield in 1903.
Today however Hopefield has become the centre of an agricultural region serving farmers in the wheat and grain, dairy, meat, honey and waterblommetjie industries.
It also has a modern retirement centre for the aged and an education centre.
Being in the heart of a Fynbos region the town has become a tourist attraction for wild flowers with the veld transforming itself with spectacular displays during August and September each year.
Hopefield is a nature lovers paradise with a large wetland area which attracts birdlife and provides trails for hikers to enjoy.
The Commando horse and tractor trail has become very popular as it encompassses spectacular scenery that visitors would not otherwise see.
Hopefield is hot in summer and is mild in winter making it an ideal place to visit during the cooler months of the year.
Other than the Dutch Reformed Church there are a number of tourist attractions in the town which include a replica of an original “hartebeeshuisie” (reed house) and two historical Cape Dutch homesteads which have recently been declared national monuments.
In the local information centre a replica of the famous Saldanha man and fossils of animals found at Elandsfontein a fossil park a couple of kilometres away are displayed.
I'm sure that residents of Hopefield would enjoy a visit from you next time you travel along the R45 on your way to Vredenburg or Malmesbury.
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