Cities and towns

Noupoort

In 1881 the railway line from Port Elizabeth ended on the farm Carlton. With the diversion of the railway line to Colesberg in 1883/4 a station was built on part of the farm Hartebeeshoek of Mr Barend Kruger. The station was named Naauwpoort after the adjacent farm. In 1963 the name was changed to Noupoort.

Okiep

Derived from the Nama word ‘U-gieb’, meaning ‘the great, brackish spring’, Okiep was, until production ceased in 1918, the world’s richest copper mine. Okiep is the oldest mining town in South Africa where copper was first discovered and mined in 1855.

Eight kilometres north of Springbok, it echoes copper’s boom years. Nine-hundred defenders, mostly Cape Copper Company employees, built nine blockhouses and repulsed General Jan Smuts’s forces’ concerted efforts to take the town. Today, on a hillock, only the remnants of stone walls remain.

Olifantshoek

The only town lying at the foot of the Langeberg, Olifantshoek is a farming town close to two game ranches on the Namakwari Route. Founded in 1895, the village is called the ‘Gateway to the White and Roaring Sands’, 78km south of the town.

Onseepkans

Farmers, realising the value of irrigating the area, bought 12 000ha of land from Edwells in 1916. In the same year, 63 plots were surveyed and taken up. A 10km canal serving 70 families was built by Japie Lutz and, today, citrus, lucerne, beans and other crops are grown at Onseepkans. The village itself is a mission station run by the Roman Catholic Father of Pofadder.

Orania

Orania offers an example of the ‘traditional’ Afrikaner way of life and also demonstrates the ingenuity of a marginalized community with advanced irrigation techniques, implemented in close cooperation with pioneers in Israel, the only fully organic vineyards in Southern Africa and a sophisticated dairy farm and the cultivation and export of Pecan nuts.

Pella

Founded by the London Missionary Society in 1814. A sanctuary for Khoisan driven out of Namibia, the village was named after the one that gave refuge to Christians in Macedonia in biblical times. Abandoned in 1872 because of drought, the Roman Catholic Church reopened the mission in 1878.

Petrusville

Named after Petrus van der Walt, owner of the farm, Rhenosterberg, the town lies in a fertile valley surrounded by a cluster of high hills.

Philipstown

Founded in 1863 as a church centre, the town was named after Sir Philip Wodehouse, Governor of the Cape.

Pofadder

The first plots surveyed were sold in 1917. Pofadder has several old buildings, one being the Roman Catholic Church. Built by the mission, it runs a blockmaking enterprise, a chicken farm and a dairy, giving employment to the poor. There are many day walks and, in spring, a wonderworld of plants carpets the veld.

Port Nolloth

Established as a small-vessel harbour and railway junction in 1854 for the copper-mining industry, Port Nolloth’s narrow, shallow entrance makes it unsuitable for ore carriers. It is, instead, a centre for the small-scale diamond recovery and crayfishing industries, and the only resort on the Diamond Coast.

Postmasburg

Proclaimed a town on 6 June 1892 and named after the Rev J Postma, a Reformed Church founding member whose congregation sought a centre of worship. The town is complemented by a dam surrounded by lush, green vegetation and sparkling fountains.

Prieska

On the south bank of the Orange River at the foot of the Doringberg, it was originally named Prieschap, a Khoisan word meaning ‘place of the lost she-goat’.

Richmond

Established in 1843 when the presbytery of Graaff-Reinet formed a new congregation for that area. A portion of the farm Driefontein was bought and erven were sold on 19 April 1845 during a communion gathering. The town was named after the Duke of Richmond from Kent, father-in-law of the Governor of the Cape at that time, Sir Peregrine Maitland.

Richtersveld Communities

Eksteenfontein, the settlement in the Richtersveld was named after Ds Peter Eksteen who served the first church congregation in 1945. The town is mostly populated by a group of people originally known as ‘Bo-Sluis Basters’ who settled there in the 1940’s as a result of the apartheid’s separatism policies of the day. 

Springbok

Set in a narrow valley bisecting the granite domes of the Klein Koperberge (small copper mountains), is the principal town of Namakwa, Springbok. Shortened from Springbokfontein in 1911, it owes its existence to copper-mining undertaken after 1850 and a ready supply of water.

In the late 1870s, rich copper deposits at Okiep saw most Springbok residents following their dreams to drought-stricken claims. Many returned.

The British fort built on the hillock in the centre of town during the Anglo-Boer War was destroyed by dynamite planted by a commando led by General Jan Smuts.

Steinkopf

Rev Brecher later renamed the town Steinkopf in honour of the German minister in London. Today Steinkopf serves a large communal stock farming area and many inhabitants work on the outlying mines in Namaqualand.

Strydenburg

On the verge of a large pan filled with salty water during the rainy years, Strydenburg (the town of strife) received its doleful name after incessant squabbling over - of all things - the town’s name! Strydenburg was laid out by the Dutch Reformed Church on the farm Roodepan in 1892.

Sutherland

Established in 1858 and named after a prominent Worcester cleric, Reverend Henry Sutherland, the town on the Roggeveld Plateau 1 450m above sea level is known for its brilliant night skies and cold, biting winters, known to be the coldest place in SA.

Three Sisters

This is not actually a town, but a landmark along the N1 where a large refuelling point is situated for travellers.

It is also close to the turn-off from the N1 to the N12, being a major entry point to the Northern Cape and Kimberley from Cape Town.

Upington

This pricipal Town of the Green Kalahari is 820km north of Cape Town and 875km west of Johannesburg.

By uniting Christian Schröder’s 1871 mission station, Olyfenhoutsdrift and the Upington police station, the town of Upington, named after the first Attorney General of the Cape, Sir Thomas Upington, was formed.