Principal Town of the Magisterial District and Division of George, on the Garden Route 439 km from Cape Town, 1252 km from Durban and 1213 km from Johannesburg. It is on the Railway Line from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth, 51 km North-East of Mossel Bay and 72 km South-East of Oudtshoorn. It has an altitude 225 metres Above Sea Level and receives about 864 mm of rain per Year. George is also the junction for the 68 km branch line along the Coast to Knysna and can be found on World renowned, Garden Route! The Airport is a scheduled stop for the South African Airways on the Cape Town-East London Route.
Originally named Georgetown after King George III, it was declared a separate District on 23 April 1811, the first to be proclaimed at the Cape; after the British occupation in 1806. It then embraced the present Districts of Mossel Bay, Calitzdorp, Oudtshoorn, Uniondale and Knysna, with the district of Swellendam on the West and Uitenhage on the East. The Site selected for the Administrative centre of the newly proclaimed district was about 11 km from the Sea on the Southern Slopes of the Outeniqua Range below George Peak. This Mountain reaches 1 370 metres Above Sea Level.
On this Site, John Campbell of the London Missionary Society, in 1813, wrote: "a more pleasant one I have not seen in Africa, it abounds with wood, water and majestic scenery". The first Landdrost, A. G. van Kervel, planned the Town and measured out the Plots and wide streets, along which he planted rows of oak-trees. One of these has been proclaimed a Natural Monument. A length of chain is embedded in its trunk, and there is a legend that slaves were fastened to it and sold beneath the tree! Van Kervel Drostdy, has had considerable alterations through the Years, also been preserved and is part of the present Victoria Hotel. In 1877 George was visited by the English novelist Anthony Trollope, who thought it was; "the prettiest village on the face of the earth".
George is on the Garden Route and attracts many Tourists. A new Tourist Camp and Caravan Park was completed in 1963. The Town offers facilities for all kinds of sport; it has a fine Golf Course. Local newspaper: George and Knysna Herald, which is bilingual. Was founded in 1881.
There are numerous Rivers such as the Great Brak, Maalgaten, Gwayang, Swart, Kaaimans, Touw, Silver, Diep and Kammanassie. The Kammanassie Dam is partly in the Oudtshoorn district. Along the Coast are popular Resorts and excellent fishing rocks. The District was well-known for its exceptional wealth of indigenous forest, but owing to large-scale destruction, only a meagre heritage remained. In 1936 the Government prohibited the felling of the still existing trees for a period of 200 years to enable the forests to recover and in order to preserve indigenous timber such as Stinkwood and Yellow-Wood. Large Plantations of non-indigenous trees, mainly pines, were planted along the slopes of the Outeniquas Pass.
Article Courtesy of www.sahistory.org.za/place/george-garden-route-western-province