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Isolation has left intact the traditional rural architecture of PRINCE ALBERT, an attractive little town 70km north of Oudtshoorn, and 400km from Cape Town, across the loops and razorbacks of the Swartberg Pass – one of the most dramatic drives and entries to a town imaginable. Although firmly in the thirstlands of the South African interior, on the cusp between the Little and Great Karoo, Prince Albert is all the more striking for its perennial spring, whose water trickles down furrows along its streets – a gift that propagates fruit trees and gardens. Visitors mostly come to Prince Albert for the drive through its two southerly gateways – the Swartberg Pass on the R328 and Meiringspoort on the N12 – generally driving in one way, spending the night in town, and driving out the other.
Prince Albert is small enough to explore everywhere on foot, people are friendly, and you'll find everything you want on the main road. Supremely old-fashioned displays make window-shopping as much fun as the interior of any country museum, but the essence of Prince Albert is in the fleeting impressions that give the flavour of a Karoo dorp like nowhere else: the silver steeple of the Dutch Reformed church puncturing a deep-blue sky, residents sauntering along or progressing slowly down the main street on squeaky bikes.