The Overberg town of Caledon was originally known in Dutch as Bad agter de Berg (Bath Behind the Mountain) due to the warm mineral-rich springs that are today situated on the premises of the Caledon Casino and Spa. On the property is the bath house that was built in 1797. I mentioned in a previous post that sailors who arrived in Table Bay with scurvy were sent to Caledon to recuperate in the healing waters. The prospect of better health attracted many people and led to the establishment of a village called Swartberg. Swartberg was later renamed Caledon in honor of the 2nd Earl of Caledon and the first British governor of the Cape (1806-11).
Caledon featured on an international platform as samples of the hot springs won first prize at the 1893 Chicago World Fair as one of the world’s highest quality mineral waters. This accolade increased the number of visitors to Caledon looking to improve their longevity. The completion of the railway line to Caledon in 1902 helped to transport visitors. Unfortunately this service is no long longer available as the last train left Cape Town for Caledon in July 1962.
Caledon is the centre of a the Overberg’s agriculture and here you will find barley, wheat and wool. The SAB Malting Plant and adjacent silos anchors the centre of town. Here you will find the Southern Associated Maltsters, the only malt producer for the South African lager beer industry and the largest in the southern hemisphere.
Regional offices for the Departments of Education, Social Development and Home Affairs are based here. For entertainment there is a small shopping arcade. Those who appreciate nature can take a walk through the 24 acres of Caledon Botanical Gardens.