George is a large town a few km inland off the Indian Ocean. As the hub of the Garden Route it has a national airport and the amenities of a larges city.
George is a city for all reasons in South Africa's Western Cape province. The city is a popular holiday and conference centre and the administrative and commercial hub of the Garden Route. For golf enthusiasts it is the place to be as it boasts some of South Africa's top golf courses for example Fan Court and Oubaai. The town of George was established as a result of the growing demand for timber and the wood used in building, transport and furniture. The great forests of the Southern Cape were discovered as early as 1711, but due to 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. George has many historical landmarks: The Slave Tree, an ancient English Oak planted by Landdrost (magistrate) van Kervel, known as the Slave Tree because of the very large chain and lock embedded in the trunk, has been declared a national monument. The King Edward VII Library building, said to be the best example of Edwardian architecture in George. The First Class School for girls was started by Miss Christina Petronella van Niekerk, a "New Age" young lady with visions for the future which were very different from those ideas held by the conservative population of George. George is often used a base to explore Tsitsikamma National Park. The Outeniqua Choo Tjoe is South Africa's last scheduled mixed steam train service and operates on the Outeniqualand Preserved Railway between George and Knysna on the Garden Route. Opened in 1928 and declared a preserved line in July 1993, this train winds its way through picturesque scenery. However, sadly the train no longer operates anymore. The Outeniqua Transport Museum houses a large collection of steam locomotives and carriages. The Garden Route Botanical Garden is situated the top of Caledon Street. The Garden Route boasts the largest continuous natural forest area in South Africa, covering some 650 km². Marketable timber is harvested from 20% of the State forest. Stinkwood, named for its unmistakable odour when freshly cut, is highly prized by the furniture industry, as are white pear, hard pear, ironwood and assegaai. The most sought after timber is the Outeniqua Yellowwood (Podocarpus falcatus). Education George is the tertiary hub of the Southern Cape, with the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), together with a number of private colleges. Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Saasveld, offers two centers of excellence – the Centre for Resource Management and the Centre for Business and Information Technology studies. Schools include the Afrikaans-medium George High School established in 1947 and Outeniqua High School established in 1923. The English medium school is York High School and there is also a double medium technical school named PW Botha College. Glenwood House is an English medium co-ed Independent school from Grade 000 to Grade 12. Tallest structures The majority of structures in George are limited to low-mid rise development, most of which is in the commercial sector. The tallest structure in George is the Sentech Tower, which is a Radio and Television frequency tower located at the foot of the Outeniqua mountains (33°55′39″S 22°27′1″E) This is followed by the Telkom Tower located in the George CBD and the FAGG Radar Tower (55m) located at the George Airport.