Ceres at a glance
Ceres is named after the Roman goddess of fruitfulness It is in the centre of one of the most important deciduous fruit producing areas in the Western Cape. Ceres is a mere 150 km (or 90 minutes) drive from Cape Town. The town is situated in a valley surrounded by mountains which shelter it completely from the south easterly wind in summer. The town can be reached from Cape Town through Michell’s Pass, via N1, R43 and R46, Theronsberg Pass from Touwsriver, via R46 and Gydo Pass from Citrusdal , via R303.
Ceres’ origins are linked to the expansion of stock farming by European colonists in the 18th century. Grazing licenses were granted and cattle posts established creating a fast moving stock farming frontier. These areas were later permanently occupied on the loan farm system (leenplaasstelsel) and after 1813 on the perpetual quitrent system (erfpag). As previously thinly populated areas became permanently settled, frontier conditions changed and towns were established to serve the needs of surrounding farmers. This was how Ceres, and subsequently Prins Alfred’s Hamlet, Baliesgat, Wolseley, Op die Berg and other small towns in the district were established.
Just before 1730, two strong migration streams, flowing northwards and eastwards, moved across the mountains. This was the trek of the cattle farmers over the Olifantskloof in the Bokkeveld Mountains and over the Mostershoek in the Witzenberg towards the Cold and Warm Bokkeveld respectively. Earlier in the 18th century loan farms had already been established in this area, amongst others, Moddervallei (today known as Boplaas), Houdenbek, Bokrivier, Leeufontein, Koelfontein, Ezelfonein and Rietvallei.
Like many other small towns, Ceres did not have an independent municipality in its early years. A municipality was only established on 3 November 1864 – with J.H. Munnik as chairman. In May 1908 the ratepayers made a unanimous request to the Governor for full status according to the Municipal Law of 1882. This was agreed to on 18 November 1908. With the new structure place, the committee met for the first time on 3 March 1909 and Dr Reinhard Johan Reinecke was chosen as chairman.
The Mediterranean climate results in long, dry and warm summers and wet, cold winters with sunny winter days. Therefore the area is ideal for outdoor and adventure enthusiasts. The area has many activities and attractions to offer, for example : San rock paintings, 4X4 routes, hiking trails, mountain biking, horse riding, scenic drives, farm tours, fresh water fishing, cherry picking in season (Nov to Jan), abseiling, canoeing, paragliding, juice tasting, snow activities and game viewing. If you are not an adventurous person you can relax with a glass of Ceres juice, which is produced in Ceres and watch the sun set over the valley.
The Ceres district consists of 3 different areas, each with its own unique charm and landscape. The ‘Warm Bokkeveld’, the ‘Koue Bokkeveld’ and the Ceres Karoo. The roads from Tulbagh and Wolseley (R46) and Worcester (R43) meet at the Michell’s Pass. Ceres offers a wide variety of accommodation. Ceres has luxury Game Reserves, a Nature Reserve, Guest Houses, Bed & Breakfasts, a Holiday Resort, self-catering units, and farm cottages.
Ceres properties range from R300 000 to R1 700 000 for houses.