The George Municipality is the third largest municipality, in terms of population, in the Western Cape Province of South Africa and is situated in the Garden Route District of the province.
The municipality serves 294 929 people from 85 931 households (Statistics SA 2023) across 28 wards including Uniondale and Wilderness – with service hinterlands geographically separated from the main city area George.
Small rural or tourism settlements include Haarlem, Waboomskraal, Uniondale , Touwsranten, Hoekwil – and various hamlets and rural places like Avontuur, De Vlugt, Herold and Noll. Coastal areas include Herold’s Bay, Victoria Bay, Wilderness, Kleinkrantz, and Gwaing.
The town’s ideal location between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, exceptional natural surroundings, temperate climate, outstanding tourism offering, low crime rate, good schools and a national airport are among the many reasons the town has seen significant growth over the past two decades – and is a sought after tourism, lifestyle, business and investment destination.
The municipal area is 5191km2 and spans the Southern Cape and Little Karoo regions of the Western Cape Province. The area administered by the George Municipality forms part of the larger Garden Route District Municipality’s jurisdictional area.
The George Municipal Area is bordered by the Oudtshoorn- and Mossel Bay Municipal areas (Western Cape province; Garden Route District) in the west and north-west and by the Dr Beyers Naude- and Kou-Kamma Municipal areas to the north, north-east and east (Eastern Cape province: Sarah Baartman District) and by the Knysna- and Bitou Municipalities (Western Cape province; Garden Route District) to the south and southeast.
George Municipality administers a vast and diverse geographic area that extends from the dry and climatically extreme Little Karoo in the north, to the wetter more temperate Garden Route in the south. It is an area of considerable natural assets and beauty, including expansive mountains and forests, wilderness areas, a varied coastline, and extensive lakes, rivers and estuaries.
Its natural assets include parts of the Garden Route National Park and the Baviaanskloof Wilderness Area. The municipal area also includes fertile farmlands and timber plantations along the coastal plain, fruit orchards in the Langkloof and arid grazing areas in the Little Karoo.
Three important national roads/ routes, the N2, N9 (R62) and N12, traverse the area, and George regional airport serves the Southern Cape and Little Karoo, including the neighbouring towns of Mossel Bay, Oudtshoorn, Knysna and Plettenberg Bay.
The George city area is the primary urban centre of the Municipality. 84% of the municipal area’s population is located here. Wilderness, Uniondale and Haarlem respectively host the bulk of the remaining urban population. 9% of the municipal area’s population is rural.
George is identified, as the primary service centre of the entire garden route region, offering most of the higher order services and facilities one would expect to receive in a metropolitan city, including modern airport infrastructure. It houses the primary administrative and regional offices of companies (and government departments) offering services in the region but is also the heart of the vast tourism offering, and a thriving agricultural sector specialising in export quality berries and other agricultural produce used in beer making and other agri-processing activities.