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Montagu was cut off from the main trek routes due to the seemingly impenetrable nature of Cogmans Kloof, it wasn’t until Thomas Bain built the pass and the tunnel that trade began to develop the area.

In 1841 Montagu was laid out on the farm Uitvlucht and in 1852 John Montagu the Colonial Secretary of the Cape visited the infant town.

 

In 1855 the first school was opened and two years later a contract was signed for the building of a church designed by George Burkett.

In 1873 the Montagu Hot Springs began charging a “ticky” for using the baths. Their use obviously goes back to time immemorial with traces of early man having been found in the nearby caves. The importance of the Baths to the general public is reflected in the conditions written into the title deeds.

“That the outspan place and Thoroughfare as laid down on the Diagram shall remain free That the grant now made the Public shall not be excluded from the benefits derived from a Hot Spring situate within the Limits of this land‐but on the contrary have the right of using the said Spring as a Hot Bath and that it shall be optional with them , should the proprietor hereafter construct suitable accommodation on the spot, to avail themselves thereof or not as they may think proper, That all Roads leading to the Bath shall remain free, that the said public frequenting said Bath shall be allowed to Outspan on this land, but that cattle shall not unless with the consent of the grantee or his successors remain longer than twenty‐four hours on this land.”

Montagu banknotes were printed and issued from 1861 to the demise of the bank in 1868, The bank was in the building now occupied by estate agents on Bath Street. Samples of the notes are on display. In 1877 Thomas Bain built the Tunnel and the new road through Cogmans Kloof.

Between 1902 and 1985 the Brink Brother’s enterprises were of major significance to the town. Their activities included general dealers, bottling works, canning factory, dried fruit production and a department store.

In 1936 Montagu was declared a health resort. This resulted in an influx of wealthy people purchasing holiday houses. At one time Montagu boasted 5 millionaires.

In 1941 the Montagu Muscadel Co-Operative was formed with fifteen members present at the first meeting. The development can be gauged by the fact that in 1944 800 tons of grapes were processed; in 1991 the figure had grown to 11,000 ton.

In 1950 Montagu hosted the first South African Wine Festival. With much trepidation and debate the committee members assured the protesters that “Drinkers will not be able to make themselves drunk during the periods the wine will be served. We will not have dishonour brought to our product.” All went well.

In 1954 The Montagu Nature Garden was inaugurated by a group of ladies who regularly gathered to work in the gardens, as it still is to this day. During the period July to October, each Tuesday morning the ladies provide tea and snacks to all who care to join them.

In 1982 Joubert House was acquired by the Museum Trust.

In April 1995 President Mandela in his first informal engagement following his inauguration, opened the twenty-first Muscadel Wine Festival.

Montagu was voted Village of the year in 2003 by Engen and again voted the best place to visit in 2008.

 

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Road Upgrade & Closures

Montagu is having major road upgrade at the moment, click here for details

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Dine at Ma Cuisine at Mimosa Lodge

September 18, 2017

 

Follow the road through a short tunnel in the rock and you’ll find yourself in the historic little town of Montagu – not technically part of the Robertson Wine Valley, but close enough and quaint enough to warrant a visit. Mimosa Lodge has been around since 1985, and for the past 13 years Bernard and Fida Hess have built up a reputation for tasty old-style, bistro food. Think scallops with home-made sweet chilli sauce, perfectly seared steak, or ostrich fillet with pommes fondant and muscat-and-thyme jus. Tuck into a three-course menu for R320 (R620 with wine pairing). Mimosa also produces its own wines, which you’ll soon be able to taste at a dedicated tasting facility with an attached day-time restaurant.

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