Ceres, Western Cape

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Town centre of Ceres with its main street on a winter day
Town centre of Ceres with its main street on a winter day
Ceres is located in Western Cape
 Ceres shown within Western Cape
Coordinates: 33°22′S 19°19′E / 33.367°S 19.317°E / -33.367; 19.317Coordinates: 33°22′S 19°19′E / 33.367°S 19.317°E / -33.367; 19.317
Country South Africa
Province Western Cape
District Cape Winelands
Municipality Witzenberg
Established 1854[1]
 • Total 80.7 km2 (31.2 sq mi)
Elevation 450 m (1,480 ft)
Population (2011)[2]
 • Total 33,224
 • Density 410/km2 (1,100/sq mi)
Racial makeup (2011)[2]
 • Black African 28.7%
 • Coloured 61.4%
 • Indian/Asian 0.4%
 • White 8.5%
 • Other 1.0%
First languages (2011)[2]
 • Afrikaans 70.2%
 • Xhosa 23.0%
 • Sotho 2.9%
 • English 2.1%
 • Other 1.9%
Postal code (street) 6835
PO box 6835
Area code 023

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 and climate[edit]

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 1088 mm, 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[3] 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[4] and some lives were lost. The quake was strong enough to knock plaster off walls in Cape Town, a hundred miles (160 kilometers) away.

Famous people[edit]

See also[edit]


A panoramic view of the Ceres valley.


External links[edit]