Ceres, Western Cape
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Town centre of Ceres with its main street on a winter day
|• Total||80.7 km2 (31.2 sq mi)|
|Elevation||450 m (1,480 ft)|
|• Density||410/km2 (1,100/sq mi)|
|Racial makeup (2011)|
|• Black African||28.7%|
|First languages (2011)|
|Postal code (street)||6835|
Ceres is the administrative centre and largest town of the Witzenberg Local Municipality in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. Ceres serves as a regional centre for the surrounding towns of Wolseley, Tulbagh, Op-die-Berg and Prince Alfred Hamlet. It is situated in the Warmbokkeveld (Afrikaans: "warm antelope field") Valley about 170 km north-east of Cape Town. Ceres is located at the north-eastern entrance to Mitchell's Pass and was the old route north between Cape Town and Johannesburg, which was later replaced by the N1 highway, which traverses the Breede River Valley to the south.
It was named after the Roman goddess of agriculture, Ceres, a name which is fitting as the valley in which the town is situated is extremely fertile and is a major producer of South Africa's deciduous fruit.
Geography & climate
Ceres experiences a typical Mediterranean climate tempered by its altitude. The town experiences warmer temperatures in summer, due to its inland location with infrequent rainfall, however winters are cool to quite cold and wet, with frequent snowfalls on the surrounding higher-lying ground, rarely falling on the valley floor itself. Total annual precipitation averages 1088mm, with average temperatures ranging from a February maximum of 29,9°C to a July minimum of 2,4°C.
The Warmbokkeveld is climatically warmer than the surrounding highlands, which is known as the Kouebokkeveld ("cold antelope field"), with the latter often experiencing snowfalls in winter.
Ceres is well known for fruit juices exported worldwide bearing the town's name. It is also famous locally for winter snow and cherries: Cape Town residents flock to the town during winter to ski or simply play in the powder — something of a rarity for the otherwise mild climate they are used to — whilst in summer, people come to pick cherries at the "Klondyke" farm.
South Africa is one of the most stable parts of the world in seismic terms but on the 29th of September 1969 a massive shock shook the district without warning. The epicentre of the quake was on a major local structure called the Worcester fault, which had clearly been geologically active in the distant past but had not moved in over three hundred years of recorded history. Ceres was affected badly. Many old Cape Dutch buildings were damaged and some lives were lost. The quake was strong enough to knock plaster off walls in Cape Town, a hundred miles (160 kilometers) away.
- De Wet Barry - Rugby union player, Springbok
- Christiaan Barnard -- first surgeon to perform a successful human-to-human heart transplant operation spent the early years of his medical practice in Ceres.
- Angelo G Fredericks - Teacher and researcher
- Henry Francis Maltby - Writer and playwright
- Raymond Herman Mordt - Rugby union player, Springbok
- Simon Rademan - Fashion designer and stylist
- Breyton Paulse - Springbok rugby player
- Ernst Joubert - Rugby player
- Ernst van Dyk - Wheelchair racer
- Elton Fortuin - Academic and researcher
- "Chronological order of town establishment in South Africa based on Floyd (1960:20-26)". pp. xlv–lii.
- Sum of the Main Places Bella Vista, Ceres and eNduli from Census 2011.