The views on the way to Wuppertal
Our last hosts, the lovely Erica and Gerhard, told us about a little gem of a place called Wuppertal. We found the name alone super as there is an enormous city with the same name in Germany which has a population of about 350 000 and the SA version probably has a population of 350 tops (I’m guessing here).

The Wuppertal church
What we hadn’t quite expected was the dirt road to get there. We had rented a small Suzuki and she too was unaware of what adventure awaited her on this VERY hot late October day. Having said that, she came away unscathed from the trip, but a passing bakkie (open cab car pickup truck for the non-South Africans among you) shot up a stone on the N2 and cracked our windscreen later on on our travels. A tarred brand new national road and just 1 stone. Unbelievable.
The views
Back to Wuppertal. We drove 40km on a gravel road to visit a village with a handful of houses. Yes, you’ve got it. Was it worth it? Absolutely. I must admit that when the lady at the tourist office – yes, they have a tourist office for the 2 tourists that visit…she was as surprised to see us as we were her – said that the only way out was the way in, I faltered for a minute in my decision to go there. But it was definitely worth it.
The road to Wuppertal
The road to Wuppertal
Wuppertal is tiny, but beautiful. The houses are all painted white and it sits in the valley with lovely streams flowing through it. It has a small school and even a post office. Considering how many post offices close in big towns worldwide, it was sweet to see one here. It was closed while we were there, but don’t spoil my rantings please.
The Wuppertal Post Office
Even Nelson Mandela visited the shoe factory here! It is perhaps a tad exaggerated to call the factory a factory, but that’s what it’s called. There are 2 very sweet gentleman who make leather shoes by hand there and when I asked if they sell them to markets in Cape Town, they said no, only there in the shop. There were about 15 pairs of shoes on sale, and I desperately wanted to support them and buy a pair. But I did eventually see The Husband’s wisdom in that buying a pair of shoes that didn’t fit me in the hope that my feet would shrink, was not my best idea of said day. Sigh.
The Wuppertal shoe factory
Mandela was here!
Wikipedia says: It was founded in 1830 by two German missionaries of the Rhenish Missionary Society (Rheinische Mission), Theobald von Wurmb and Johann Gottlieb Leipoldt, grandfather of C. Louis Leipoldt - some 100 years before the city of Wuppertal was formally established in Germany. (South Africa rocks!!) In its heyday the shoe factory, founded by Johann Leipoldt himself, provided work for many skilled craftsmen. The Wupperthal handsewn veldskoen (traditional soft suede shoes) were for nearly a century famous across South Africa for their comfort and good craftsmanship. A tannery and a glove factory were also in operation for many years. The shoe factory is still in existence today, but operates on a much smaller scale. (A much much smaller scale!!) It is now part of the Moravian Church and is a Moravian mission station to this day.
Inside the church
There are 2 graveyards and I do like a good graveyard. Wherever we go, I love to walk around graveyards and think about the people there. And yes, I do know that I am a bit strange, but thanks for asking.
The Wuppertal graveyard
The Wuppertal graveyard
We had wanted to stay the night there (the Tourist Office lady said they have 2 self-catering rooms in town), but they were full. Unbelievable. So we had to drive back the 40km’s on the hottest day of the year – thank goodness for air-conditioning. And thank goodness they were full because we got to stay at Die Poort at the Pakhuis Pass and it is such a spectacular place that I am sooooo happy we stayed there. I’ll tell you all about it in my next post. Bye bye baby, bye bye!
The village

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