Cities and towns

Van Wyksvlei

Established in 1880 and named after a local farmer, Van Wyksvlei lies close to the first, state-funded dam, built in 1882 and still in use.

Van Zylsrus

The most prosperous game ranches, especially for trophy hunters or holidaymakers, are in the immediate area. And, for biltong lovers, this is paradise.


Named after the farm on which the Vanderkloof Dam is situated, the town was built to house people building the dam. Today it is a flourishing holiday resort. It boasts the highest dam wall in the country (108m) and links the Northern Cape to the Free State.

Victoria West

Established in 1843 and named after Queen Victoria of England. Victoria West marks the beginning of the Diamond Way, lying on the main route from Cape Town to Kimberley. In 1866 diamond fever was sparked with the discovery of the gem at Hopetown and then at Kimberley.

The railway from Cape Town was also lured north but, perplexingly, missed Victoria West by 12km (See Hutchinson). Though Victoria West has suffered a devastating flood and dustbowl-drought, it has thrived.


The official borderpost to Namibia. There are several camp sites on the banks of the Orange River. Many river rafting trips along the Orange and through the Richtersveld start here. Stunning rock stratum and petroglyphs can be viewed.


Established on the farm Processfontein in 1895, the town was named after Mr J Vos and the Van Rensburg family. More than 22 buildings here are national monuments.


In 1880 a syndicate bought the western portion of the farm Grasbult on the Vaal River to irrigate the fertile land and produce vegetables for those working the diamond fields. Named after Sir Charles Warren, diamonds were discovered here in 1888 and mining still continues.


In 1768 Johan Abraham Nel planted an almond tree in honour of his son’s birth. This tree eventually became enormous, and was an oasis in the dry treeless area of the Karee Mountains.

In 1845 Johann Heinrich Lutz established a mission station named Amandelboom (almond tree) at this spot. In 1883 the name changed to Williston, in honour of Colonel Hampden Willis.


The missionaries were sent packing and the town of Windsorton took root in the diggers’ camp, named after PF Windsor, owner of the land on which it developed. Diamonds are still found in the area.