What on earth are you going to Napier for? – is often the response I receive when letting people know that I am spending a few days there. And to be honest it was the question I asked myself the first time I went there too. But I only needed to go once to understand the true charm of this beautiful country farming town.
Located about 40 km inland of Arniston, Napier was formed in 1838 over a spat between two neighbours, Michiel van Breda & Pieter Voltelyn van der Byl, over the location of the community church. The dispute was not settled and each of them built their own churches – one in Bredasdorp and one in what is now known as Napier – after Sir George Thomas Napier.
The popularity of Napier has increased dramatically during the past few years. Napier is now rated by the Tourism Board as the fourth most attractive village of the Western Cape after Montagu, Greyton and McGregor.
Local attractions include a toy museum and a watermill, a giant sundial at the municipal offices, and an ox Wagon monument (Kakebeenwa) to commemorate the Ossewa Trek of 1838. The ox wagon monument has an impression of a wagon wheel track made in concrete to commemorate the exodus of dissident Afrikaners from the Western Cape.
In the past, Napier’s main craftsmen were blacksmiths, a heritage which is commemorated by the annual Horse and Cart Festival. Other annual events are the Patatfees (Sweet Potato Festival), every June, and the Voet van Africa (Foot of Africa) Marathon which is run in mid-September.
Napier also has a few great restaurants including Thyme and Again and The Red Windmill, a boutique wine shop – Vindigo and a great bar at The Sun Touched Inn, which makes its own beer – Napier Ale.
Napier is perfect for a quiet getaway that is far enough from the crowds but close enough to pulse of Arniston should you wish to go through. Everything you cannot get grocery and supply wise in the town itself – a short drive to Bredasdorp will certainly remedy.
Check out Napier Tourism for more information on where to stay and what to do.