The captivating spirit of Barrydale is reflected in the eclectic mix of residents who call the village home. This fascinating Klein-Karoo dorpie is home to an even more fascinating population of long-time rural settlers, city escapees, artists and other creative types, topped off by the odd eccentric along the way.
The culturally diverse village has both English and Afrikaans speakers as well as a substantial European expatriate community of French, German and Italian inhabitants. Barrydale still shows the legacy of the separate areas act that was implemented by the apartheid regime with the majority of population who are decedents of the Khoisan living just outside the village in Smitsville.
However, there is much more than meets the eye in this historical little village. Each year, the community-based organization, Net vir Pret in collaboration with the Handspring Puppet Company in Cape Town puts together a beautiful carnival for the entire community to enjoy. In honour of Reconciliation Day, the community builds larger-than life puppets that bring to life old Khoisan folktales and characters. The puppets are paraded down the street together with live music and a dancing band.
Idiosyncratic, whimsical and unconventional - these are just some of the words fit to describe the community of Barrydale. It has attracted nature lovers and special characters from all around the country including the late birdwatcher and writer Terry Oakly and botanist Flora Cameron who has made an enormous contribution to the preservation of the indigenous flora of the Overberg and Klein Karoo. Other creatives like author Leslie Howard moved to Barrydale 12 years ago and was so taken by the village that she has authored two books on its history and heritage.
The friendly folk, preserved heritage and an impressive list of things to do give Barrydale a unique and enduring character. Make sure to include it on your list of places to experience on your journey along the Cape’s famous Route 62.