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George, South Africa

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George, The Timber City

From the beginning of European colonisation in South Africa in 1652, timber and the provision of various woods was of paramount importance for the survival of the settlers. Once forest areas near the present Cape Town were exhausted, the search for more timber continued along the coast.


The great forests of the Southern Cape were discovered as early as 1711, but because of their inaccessibility it was only in 1776 that the Dutch East India Company established a timber post where George is today. Early woodcutters and their families lived in forest clearings where they evolved into a closely knit community where intermarriage was common. The men were thin and wiry, but they were also tough and strong with an incredible skill in felling, sawing and handling timber. The utilization of the forest trees led to such industries as furniture and wagon making.


By 1910 several large sawmills had been established in the district. Timber for export was transported to coastal ports by ox wagon. Today you will find sawmills with the ultimate in modern wood technology and innovative furniture factories in the Southern Cape. Unique to this area is the age-old technique and skill of manufacturing wood furniture by hand.


Although the Garden Route has outgrown its wood-cutters image a long time ago, to become a tourist haven for many thousands of fun- and sun-seekers, the traditional timber is everywhere to be found. You see it in the abundance of forests in the area, as well as in the names of establishments, such as our Pine Lodge.

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