A place called paradise.
A village with fascinating origins,
Suurbraak is nestled amongst streams
of running water and sheltered by giant oaks.
19km East of Swellendam, and only 10km off the N2, the traveller encounters the town unexpectedly along the Tradouws river at the foot of the Langeberg mountains.
It lies about 5km west of the majestic Tradouws Pass, en route between Swellendam, Barrydale and Heidelberg. Come and explore its history. Discover its charms.
The Attaqua Tribe of the Quena (Hottentot) people of Southern Africa occupied the area known as Suurbraak today, which lies on their ancient trade route.
The kraals (settlements) of these trading people possessed such natural beauty that they called it Xairu, meaning "beautiful". The earliest Dutch cattle traders
translated the name to Paradise.
This traditional settlement drew the interests of the missionaries. It was established as a mission station in 1812 by die London Mission Society, and later in
1875, taken over by the Algemeende Sending Kerk. In 1880 the Anglican Church was also 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 which is one of its charms, 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. Horses and donkey drawn carts are often seen here on the streets. Visit the Suurbraak
Skrynwerkers to see the outstanding hand made "Van Gogh" chairs manufactured there. They are made from canary pine and woven sea grass seats, using the old "bodging"
method. Die Ou Wawiel Restaurant is situated on Rossouw Plein, and is one of the original restored homes.
The village is well worth visiting. The mountains are rich in fynbos and birdlife and cattle paths act as mountain trails for hikers and mountain bikers alike.