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When yo order some new crystals online and they come wrapped up all sweet and lovely smelling in packaging that can be used again, pure love!!! Thank you Mystic Cat for the thoughtful packaging & amazing service!!! Will definitely order from you guys again soon!
Arthur Fincham
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No hassles, stones arrived as promised. Highly recommended.
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It was such a breeze to order and the delivery was really quick. Really appreciated the personal touch and care with the packaging.
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Extremely fast delivery time with beautiful packaging that ensures my gems arrived in one piece! Love this shop and will continue to support them.
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Amazing customer service and very friendly when answering all my questions.. Loved the little gift I received with my order.. Definitely going to be ordering from mystic cat again!
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I just received my order and I literally have a client coming in 10min that I wanted to use the pyramid for - such good timing! Thank you so much, & the packaging is lovely.
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The Mystic Cat is amazing! I constantly received updates on my order. The correspond from The Mystic Cat was always friendly and I really appreciate how far they went for me, their customer. Thank you
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Super happy. I was sent a picture of my beautiful crystal because it wasn’t possible to courier yet at the time with the lock down, it meant so much to see my first crystals ever bought.
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Hi. I received my parcel just now. Don't know who is more excited; me or my kids. Thank you sooo much. Beautifully packaged, with a personal message and a free gift! Love it. And the insence smells devine! You guys rock. ❤ Love, light and lots of blessings
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I just wanted to let you know that I received my package today and I am truly greatful my brother and this surely wasn't the last time we do business together.
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Hi. I just received my order and sorted through them. 🙂 Love them thank you
Laila Kader
Laila Kader@of.blue.heart.waves
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I can't wait for these crystals to join my other crystals. @themysticcat Love and light Thank youu <3
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Maureen Noko Morifi
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Hello There, Appreciate You So Much for I have received my very first order with you guys looking forward to many more ordering. Have An Awesome Day further.
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Claire Sayer
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Fantastic! A lot of thought went into your business, its lovely... well done, and wishing you tons of success! ♡
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Lizette Norris
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Thank you for all your patience and guidance…. Crystal hugs, Lizette
 anne55
anne55Bidorbuy
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Superfast postage, good communication. Recommended seller
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Great seller, Great Product - Thank you
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extremely friendly and helpful thank you very much!!!
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great seller. kept in touch and delivered on time
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saias Bidorbuy
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great sellers and product
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Great and fast service
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Fabulous Book. Great Website. I can highly recommend. Thanks and bless you
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The gemstone poster is perfect and we loev our crystals, thank you!
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Hi, I received my order today, the owls really cute, thank you!
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peacefisimi Bidorbuy
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The seller is so wonderful. Good communication and fast responses
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Thanks for my beautiful necklace. Love it. A++++++++ seller.
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kroon9525 Bidorbuy
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Fantastic seller and excellent service!! Thank you
 sangus
sangus Bidorbuy
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Box arrived badly damaged but crystals were all okay, thank goodness! thanks for a great sale.
asian.on.a.journey
asian.on.a.journey@asian.on.a.journey
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You guys are super cute😍🖤🖤🖤 thank you!!
Karien Janse v Rensburg
Karien Janse v Rensburg
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I just received my crystals. Just want to say, thank you!!! And thanks for packing them so nicely Hope you have a wonderful day
 Michelle Strydom
Michelle Strydom
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Thank you so much, I received my package. Beautiful, love it! The voucher is great, will be using it very happily :)
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I LOVE YOU GUYS! LOVE AND LIGHT!!😍
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I just received my parcel...thank you so much *hugs*
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Thandi Mzamo
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Thanks I have received my parcel and the first thing when I opened it was Wooooooow! what a beautiful packaging and the note, it's priceless. I am so happy I found your website and looking forward to more orders with you since it's gonna be my first time smudging and using crystals. I will definitely refer my friends & colleagues. I am a happy customer!
Monet Potgieter
Monet Potgieter
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Thank you so so so much for my beautiful necklace! Love the moss agate <3 I just want to buy everything at your shop!!! I am so glad I came across it!
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Location

Located at the foot of the Langeberg mountains at the southern end of Traudow’s Pass in Overberg, Suurbraak is just off the N2 on the R324 to Barrydale.

  • 2hr40 from Cape Town airport
  • 2hrs from George airport
  • 2hrs from Hermanus
  • 1hr from Montagu
  • 20mins from Swellendam

Vegetation, Wildlife & Birdwatching

Suurbraak is surrounded by gorgeous ancient forests, hidden streams and waterfalls, with the Marloth Nature Reserve and Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve (both World Heritage Sites) on either side. One of many enticing features of the area includes the Wonder Kloof, an incredible geological crack in the east-west Langeberg Mountain range dressed by 200m high waterfalls on either side of the kloof. Suurbraak is regarded as the “Waterfall Capital of the Overberg”.

Where we are The Mystic Cat
Tradouw's Pass
Marloth Nature Reserve
Grootvaderbosch Nature Reserve

This is the most significant stretch of indigenous afromontane forest left in the south-western Cape, with nearly all of the 35 typical forest tree species including yellowwood, stinkwood, Cape beech, wild olive, assegaaibos, cherrywood and hard pear.

The valley is also home to fynbos and renosterveld (which is critically endangered).

There are several species of protea and more than 25 species of erica, most of which flower in November.

The area is home to many small mammals, including the grey rhebok, klipspringer, common duiker, baboon, caracal, mongoose, porcupine, dassie and hare. Marloth also has leopard, but they are rarely seen.

Sighting a subspecies of the Forest Emperor butterfly, the Cape Ghost frog, or the Grootvaderbosch Dwarf Chameleon would be the highlight of a visit here, as they can only be found in Grootvadersbosch forest area.

An excellent birding destination with more than 196 bird species regularly spotted, including the African Fish eagle, African Crowned eagle, Wood owl, Red-Winged francolin, Tambourine dove, Forest buzzard and four different species of woodpecker.

Things to do

  • Hiking trails – guided or alone (4 trails in Suurbraak, as well as trails in Grootvaadersbosch & Marloth)
  • Mountain biking trails
  • Bird watching
  • Swimming in the river or rock pools, or for a change of pace visit the natural pools and waterfall at Tradouw Pass
  • Take a horse-drawn cart ride with “Dawie’s Village Cart Rides”
  • Explore the village with its historical sites and cultural attractions
  • Grab a bite to eat at Paradise Organic
  • Pick your own berries or taste a few of the ten unique South African Liqueurs available at Wildebraam Berry Estate
  • Visit the Faery SanctuaryDrosdy Museum or Bukkenburg Pottery Studio in Swellendam
  • Take a day trip to Barrydale to experience some of the local highlights, including Barrydale CellarHand Weavers, and the Magpie Art Collective.

History

Suurbraak was originally called “Xairu” by the Attequa KhoiKhoi / Quena tribe who originally founded a village here. “Xairu”/”Xairi” means “paradise” or “beautiful” – and it certainly lives up to its early name.

The town’s current name, Suurbraak, came from “Zuurbraak” (Dutch) or “Sour Brake”, an early nineteenth century term referring to the masses of “sour ferns” (aka bracken) that grows abundantly throughout the area.

Our Area The Mystic Cat
Bracken still grows abundantly throughout the forests surrounding Suurbraak
"Hermanus Steyn, Revolutionary President of the Republic of Swellendam 1975"

Next door to Zuurbraak, a trading post was established in 1667, which later became the town of Swellendam, officially founded in 1747 when the Drostdy was built to house the landdrost (magistrate).

For a momentous few months in 1795, it was one of the capitals of the world!

Then, angered by the misrule of the Dutch East India Company, its handful of citizens dismissed their magistrate, declared a republic and appointed a president.

Three months later the British took over the Cape and the little republic passed into history.

The Dutch East India Company assumed ownership of land that was Khoikhoi territory and it was cleared of fynbos as farming ensued.

The arrival of these settlers in the Overberg (as elsewhere) was catastrophic for the indigenous inhabitants. The bartering impoverished the Khoikhoi, and diseases (particularly the smallpox epidemic of 1713), land competition, alcohol and tobacco decimated the clans of the Hessequa’s.

Many entered the service of the European settlers and were lost to their clans. Missionary settlements became a refuge for some.

Khoi trading

In 1809, the Attaqua tribe’s (last) Chief, Hans Moos, invited the London Missionary Society to send a missionary to minister to the 300-400 people in his kraal (settlement).

In 1812, the London Missionary Society arrived and built a mission station which you can still see today in the main town.

As written by Matthew Mentz in his paper “Unearthing the determinants required for off-grid subsistence: a case study” (Mentz, M. 2013), the London Missionary Society ceded 2755 hectares of land to the inhabitants of Zuurbraak in 1812 (the same year of building the mission).

But according to the Swellendam Municipality Heritage Report, the land was surveyed and transferred to the London Mission Society in 1873, and only later in 1877 when the church buildings were sold to the Dutch Reformed Church was the land returned to the inhabitants.

Either way, today the land is held in trust by Swellendam municipality, whilst still belonging to the original villagers decedents.

By the 1850s, British settlers had colonised the eastern parts of the area, and Swellendam prospered as a replenishment stop. Boats laden with provisions were sent via Malgas down the Breede River to the ships waiting near Infanta harbour.

A split in the congregation of Zuurbraak resulted in the building of a separate Anglican church and school in 1883. By now the village was well established, with some 2500 inhabitants, 18 teachers, over 400 students and nearly 500 houses (there is still a major housing shortfall in Suurbraak today as housing promised by the ANC government has not yet materialized).

In 1948 the National Party came into power and instituted the Apartheid (‘seperateness’) policy, along with enacting the Group Areas Act. Zuurbraak was renamed Suurbraak, and was proclaimed a ‘Coloured’ village’ in 1960, forcing the removal of any white inhabitants. Since the end of Apartheid a small community of white inhabitants (2.6% as of the 2011 census) has resettled in the area, and Afrikaans remains the predominantly spoken language.

Although some of the original character of the domestic architecture of Suurbraak has been lost or destroyed, the village still presents a historically interesting representation of the unique vernacular architecture, layout and cultural heritage of mission towns.

A large number of its mud-brick and thatch (later iron-roofed), two- or three- roomed cottages survive, many on or attached to smallholdings.

“But not found in most other mission stations is a type of double-storeyed house peculiar to Suurbraak, five or so of which are still left. Their upper floors have tiny windows sometimes placed slightly inwards giving them a curious ‘squinting’ look. Small pediments are set in the centre of their plain cornices.” – H Fransen (2007)

Original architecture in Suurbraak buildings remain
Republic of Swellendam

In June 2011, the Swellendam Municipality area, which includes Barrydale, Suurbraak, Malgas, Infanta and Stormsvlei, re-declared itself a Republic.

This republic is dedicated to the principles of the New South Africa, and celebrates rural life, racial harmony, respect for nature and wildlife, and aims to promote sustainability and an “unplugged” way of life for all to enjoy.

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