Suurbraak, "A Place called Paradise"
is a quaint village, nestled amongst streams
of running water and sheltered by giant
oaks, situated 19 km east of Swellendam,
10 km off the N2. The traveler encounters
the town unexpectedly along the Tradouws
River at the foot of the Langeberg Mountains.
It lies about 5 km west of the majestic
Tradouws Pass, on route between Swellendam,
Barrydale and Heidelberg. The village
is well worth a visit for tourists who
wish to explore.
This traditional settlement drew the
interests of the missionaries. It was
established as a mission station in 1812
by the London Mission Society and later
in 1875, taken over by the Algemeende
Sending Kerk. In 1880 the Anglican church
and school was built as a result of a
split in the congregation. Community involvement
in the church remains strong. The buildings
of the village tell the story of its history.
The first church, the parsonage and school,
together with the old houses and buildings
around the village square have been restored
and are in use, as well as the Anglican
church building. All are situated on the
main road through the town.
The isolation of Suurbraak is one of
its charms and limits the financial resources
of the people. Many still cook on wood
stoves, using an abundance of alien vegetation
that grows in this area. The people live
close to the land using farming methods
that belong to the past. The smaller farms
are still ploughed using horse drawn ploughs.
Agricultural work is often done manually.
Many households own at least one cow and
some horses. Horse and donkey drawn carts
are often seen here on the streets.
The village is well worth visiting on
day trips. The mountains are rich in fynbos
and bird life and cattle paths act as
mountain trails for hikers and mountain
Community guides are available for village
walks and mountain hikes. There are basic
braai facilities alongside the river with
spectacular pools. The riverine areas
offer great bird-watching opportunities.