History

Ceres - Take a Step Back in Time

The valley of Ceres, the Koue Bokkeveld and the open plains of the Tanqua Karoo were first inhabited by the San and Khoi, thousands of years ago. The San rock painting sites in the area are some of the best preserved in the country. Book a guided hiking tour with a local San rock art specialist and learn more about the San lifestyle and traditions. Wethu Experience Tel 072 999 4167.

The first Europeans crossed the Witzenberg Range from the Tulbagh Valley in 1729 and established stock farms.  Michell’s Pass was built between 1846 and 1848.  The first plots in Ceres were sold a year later. The road through Ceres became the main route to the north when diamonds were discovered in Kimberley in the late 1800’s. Today the route is known as the ‘Forgotten Highway’ and is developing as a tourist attraction.

The old Toll House, Tel: 023 312 1211, situated just below the railway crossing in Michell’s Pass, was the pay point for travellers to the diamond fields.  Visit the well-maintained Toll house, a national mounument, and on-site is also a small restaurant offering local traditional foods and treats. In 1969, an earthquake struck Ceres and most of the historic buildings in the town were damaged beyond repair.

One can visit the Ceres Transport Riders Museum Tel: 023 312 2045 to learn more about the early days in Ceres, the people, fauna and flora, a display of wagons and carriages and the earthquake of 1969.