The surname Breytenbach originates from Germany. The earliest mention of the name is in the 17th century in Würzburg, Germany. Earlier ancestry records mention the name Von Breitenbach.
Johan Jacob Breytenbach, born in the late 17th century in Würzburg, came to South Africa and married Gerbrecht Bezuidenhout of Stellenbosch in Cape Town on 5 October 1749. He died in 1786. Indications are that his father was Ludwig Breitenbach (note spelling).
The Breytenbach name appears throughout the modern Western community. Probably the most notable "Breytenbach" is the South African writer Breyten Breytenbach.
The South African town of Breyten was established by Niklaas Breytenbach during the 19th century.