Humansdorp stems from somewhat humble beginnings and owes its existence to the early farmers who established themselves in this region in the 1840s, thanks to fertile land and good water sources that have become synonymous with the formation of many of the towns and villages scattered across the Eastern Cape Province.
In the early days, this fruitful tract of land was known as the Parish of Alexander, named after a local Dutch Reformed Minister - Reverend Alexander Smith. Reverend Smith travelled from Uitenhage on a bi-annual basis in order to hold Nachtmaal services (communion) for the surrounding farmers.
The government of the day came under increasing pressure from early settlers to establish a town as the productive farms in the area became more established, with farmers protesting at having to travel to Uitenhage to pay their taxes. In 1849, Matthys Gerhardus Human could bear it no longer and offered up 500 morgen of ground as a gift in order to establish a town, on condition that the government survey the land. This very generous gift was graciously accepted by the government, with Human being considered the founding-father of the town, hence the name change to Humansdorp.
The area, which remains a predominant farming community, has become increasingly popular as a tourist destination in recent years, due to its close proximity to established tourist hot-spots such as Jeffrey’s Bay and Cape St Francis. A 20-minute drive from both of these seaside towns, Humansdorp is regarded as the entrance town to the Kromme River estuary and is the first economic centre encountered when travelling from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town.
Although Humansdorp is a well-established town with shops, restaurants and retailers, it has still managed to maintain its small-town charm. Access to various hiking trails, forest walks - including the Boskloof Trail and surrounding countryside makes it well worth a visit. The town is also a popular choice as a stop-over for those who want to spend a couple of days exploring the legendary Tsitsikamma Forest, which has been described as a place where magic and the ancient have merged to create a fairy-tale.
The Tsitsikamma Forest is a huge, protected conservation area that supports an incredibly diverse ecosystem and is a well-visited tourist attraction in the Eastern Cape. The demand for holiday accommodation in the town has steadily increased over the years and holidaymakers now have the choice of staying in the town’s caravan park or various B&B establishments, as well as a recently-opened boutique hotel. Humansdorp is host to a number of historic buildings, including the beautiful Old Mill, a museum that displays and conserves artefacts from the 1800s.
The area has managed to hold its own in terms of residential property sales in recent years. Obviously, a large number of the property sales in Humansdorp comprise farm sales; however, recent statistics released by Lightstone reveal that there have been a total of 37 residential transfers in the area in the last 12 months. The average price paid for a freehold property in the town was R718 000 and the sectional title average was R292 000.
So, when passing through the Eastern Cape en-route to other destinations, perhaps a pit stop in Humansdorp could be on the cards and may well unveil a few pleasant surprises for weary travellers and even those who wish to lay down roots in this beautiful part of South Africa.