The Matsikamma mountains and Olifants river mark the southern boundary, Pofadder and Pella the east, the Orange River Valley the north, and the cold Atlantic the western boundary, which is where Namaqualand finds itself confined within. This area was known in the early 1800's as "little" Namaqualand.
Namaqualand, a succulent desert, has the world's most awe-inspiring floral display in August & September every year, a very rich in history spanning some 2,000 years, containing some of the worlds most unique geological formations, predating the Gondwana split by billions of years, and holds some of the worlds greatest mineral wealth.
With these rich abundance's, Namaqualand has in addition breathtaking scenery, wide open spaces interrupted by intrusive granite domes and outcroppings with crystal clear night sky's that many a city dweller can only dream of.
Namaqualand's greatest wealth of all is its diverse population. Early explorers, adventurers, free hold farmers, missionaries, miners and run away slaves, found the peaceful loving Khoi Khoi group, the Nama, who had been settled in Namaqualand as pasturalists for the last 2,000 years. To the east were the Khoi San peoples, who were hunter gatherers and had originally inhabited the whole of Namaqualand. With the influx of these various groups and the inter mingling with the local Nama's and San peoples, you today have a Namaqualander rich in culture and history. In the more remote area's of Namaqualand "Nama" is still spoken, although the Nama language and Afrikaans have been well integrated with many Nama words still being used. Many of our places of interest, rivers, mountains, farms and towns have Nama names, although modernised.
All these wonderful characteristics make Namaqualand the most unusual and unknown tourist destination in South Africa today. The tourist explorer \ adventurer can spend many days finding the unusual and unspoilt in Namaqualand. Some of these are listed below :
The Reserves, National Parks :
Namaqua National Park - 60 000ha park near Kamieskroon which includes the Sklipad flower area. This park showcases Namaqualand's flower and succulent splendour during the flower season.
Goegap Nature Reserve - 15 000ha reserve 15 km south-east of Springbok. This reserve is run by Northern Cape Nature Conservation and supports 45 mammal species (including springbok, gemsbok and Hartmann's mountain zebra), 94 bird species as well as reptile and amphibian species and close to 600 indigenous flower species. In addition to the above the Hester Malan Wild Flower garden has a spectacular display of Namakwa succulents and a rock garden. A 4 x 4 trail compliments three hiking and a mountain-biking trail.
Richtersveld National Park - 160 000ha park in the north-west crook of the Orange River. This park is the only mountain desert park in South Africa which has some 30% of all of South Africa's succulent plant species. 4 x 4 trials and roads for the outdoor adventurer / explorer supplemented by walking, hiking trails, canoeing on the Orange river and camping make it a must for those adventure / explorer tourists.
Other places of interest listed by town or near proximity :
Orange River estuary and wetlands - A RAMSAR site renowned for its prolific bird life.
Alluvial Diamond Mine & Museum tours are on offer on Thursdays @ 08H00.
Worlds largest, desert Lichen-Field where 26 species can be found.
Orbicule Hill - National Monument. This lies west of Concordia. The orbicular diorite, which is a rare rock texture, is the result of granitoid magmas separating while in a fluid state, with one granite type forming ovoid ‘orbs' showing concentric internal banding, within a ground mass of slightly different composition.
Near Concordia is the Tweefontein mine that has granite old ore bins / shutes which are good examples of Cornish stone masonry. The open pit gives a very good indication of the shape and size of the ore body as it intruded into the Concordia gneiss and depth of oxidation.
Concordia stone church built in 1875 by Cornishmen - still in its original condition with organ dating back to 1915.
The original Rhenish mission church and parish opposite the stone church was established in 1852 by Rev. Mr Brecher, a Rhenish missionary, the same year copper was discovered in Namaqualand. Many of the Nama's where from the Pella mission which had been abandoned due to pillaging by Nama factions from Warmbad north of Pella.
Concordia graveyard with the graves of the early Renish missionary pioneers and unmarked graves of fallen Boer forces from the four week siege of Okiep (1 April - 5 May 1902). Concordia was used by the Boer forces as their head quarters.
Near Concordia at the New Prospect mine is another example of a granite ore bin / shute which is in excellent condition. Also at the New Prospect mine is a geological occurrence where norite transgresses obliquely across the foliation of the Concordia granite.
Letterklip - Anglo Boer War blockhouse at Garies. This well restored site was the main defence of Garies while the Boer forces isolated the town from late January 1902 until April 1902. Colonel White and Lieutenant Hodges with a detachment of Namaqualand Border Scouts defended Garies. Many names and dates were inscribed by the defending British forces into the granite rocks within this blockhouse, thus the name "Letterklip".
Messel Pad & Wildeperde Hoek Pass - National Monument. This is part of the old copper route that was used in the 1850's & 60's by the copper wagoneers transporting copper to Hondeklip Bay for export to Wales, England for smelting. Built between 1865 and 1869 by convicts under the supervision of Patrick Fletcher, a civil engineer, financed by the Cape Colonial Government. These passes are still in use today and at the bottom of the pass in the Buffels river remains the old goal that housed the convicts.
Cray fishing in season for permit holders which can be obtained at Springbok or Garies.
Shipwrecks can be found along the coast, like the Aristea south of the town.
At Darters poort near Brandewyn kop lies the grave of Lieutenant James Darter who was killed in action on 16 March 1902 near where he is buried. He arrived on the steamer Nautilus and disembarked at Port Nolloth in January 1902. His grave is the smallest registered title deed in South Africa.
Photographic Workshops are conducted by celebrated photographers during flower season and March to April each year.
This little town tucked away between the Sandveld mountains between Springbok and Kleinzee was established in 1790 by a Jasper Cloete from the Kamiesberg area. A Mission station was established here in 1836 by Rev. Mr Schmelen, a Rhenish missionary, amongst 4 families, most of whom were descendants of slaves. The original church and parsonage can be found situated in the centre of Komaggas.
Leliefontein Methodist Church and Parsonage - National Monument. This Methodist mission was established on 23 October 1815 with the arrival of Rev Barnabas Shaw of the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society. This mission station became a major stop over of travellers into the hinterland e.g.. G.Thompson 1823,
It is at this church that the biggest atrocity happened during the ABW. The Boer forces under Gen. Manie Maritz massacred 35 Leliefontein inhabitants on 13 January 1902. A plaque commemorating the massacred hangs in the Leliefontein Church.
Nababeep Mine Museum - at Nababeep charts Namaqualand's rich copper mining history.
Cornish Pump House - National Monument at Okiep which was used to dewater the Okiep mine from 1882 until it closed in 1919. The only fully intact Cornish pump house in the Southern hemisphere and very popular with steam enthusiasts.
Smoke Stack - (Ventilation shaft built in 1880) National Monument at Okiep.
Fort Shelton - main blockhouse during siege of Okiep during Anglo Boer War. This defensive position saw the major part of the action during the siege and was also manned by a 6 pounder gun.
Crows Nest Blockhouse - important blockhouse during siege of Okiep. This blockhouse fell to the Boer forces and was occupied by them for at least three weeks of the siege before being retaken by the Namaqualand Border Scouts.
Concordia blockhouse situated between Fort Shelton and Crows Nest.
Graveyard in Okiep with graves of the Cornish mining pioneers and Anglo Boer War causalities.
1929 M.A.N. ship engine from Luderitz that generated electricity for Okiep mine and town from 1940 to 1984. This engine was transport by the Okiep Copper Company from Luderitz across the desert to Okiep.
Klondike west & east - very good example of a structurally deformed zone (steep structure) - a geological site visited by many geologists when in Namaqualand.
Narap Megabreccia - a marked and abrupt discordancy between the outlines of the megabreccia and the trend of structure in the surrounding country rock - a geological site. A very unusual site where various local rocks are mixed with the intruding granite.
Catholic Cathedral at Pella - National Monument. This mission station was founded in 1812 by the London Mission Society under Rev Christiaan Albrecht, a Rhenish missionary. Pella was named by Rev Albrecht after the place in Palestine where
Christians found refuge during the siege of Jerusalem by Titus in AD 66-70. In the middle 1852 this station was abandoned due to continuos pillaging by Nama groups from the Warmbad area north of Pella. In 1882 Father John Simon arrived from France to continue the mission work
Blue Mine at Springbok, South Africa's second commercial mine and first in the Okiep Copper District which falls within the Namaqualand Metamorphic Complex that was formed between 2 billion to 1.03 billion years ago.
Van der Stel's mine shaft - National Monument at Carolusberg. This is the only remaining shaft of six that were sunk during October to November 1685 while
Simon van der Stel was in the Namaqualand. They built smelting ovens to test the ore they had mined using what trees they could find in the valleys to fire the ovens.
Smelting Furnace Smoke stack of the Springbokfontein reduction works built in 1864 and fully operational by 1867, and closed by 1870 due to the Okiep reduction works opening. - National Monument in Springbok.
Synagogue in Springbok built in 1929 - National Monument.
Graveyard west of Springbok with graves of the area's early mining pioneers and fallen from ABW action during the 16 hour sacking of Springbok by Boer forces on 31 March 1902.
Steinkopf Renish Mission founded in 1819 for the Nama inhabitants of what today is known as Steinkopf, but originally called Kookfontein.- National Monument
Steinkopf graveyard with the graves of the early Renish missionary pioneers.
Steinkopf Art Gallery in old Renish Mission building with paintings of amongst others Bettie Cilliers Barnard. These paintings were donated by the relatives of the Brecher family who were Rhenish missionaries at Steinkopf in the late 1800's.
Kookfontein eye, which is a perennial spring still flowing after many years is situated in Steinkopf, around which the town was established.
Kinderle - (20 km north of town) The sacred mass grave of 23 Nama children massacred by Khoisan while the Nama elders were attending church.
Klipfontein Hotel ruins next to the R382 where the world famous Namakwaland mule train overnighted on their way to and from Port Nolloth.
Klipfontein graves from the Anglo-Boer War skirmishes between the relieving British forces and the Boer Commondos at the end of the war.
Nonahams, situated at the top of the Namakwaland escarpment has ABW block houses and the start of the "meel pad" pass down the escarpment. Nonahams also supplied water to Anenous for the railway. This dam still stands today.
Annenous station and town lies at the bottom of the Namaqualand escarpment and supplied water for the steam trains travelling up the notorious Klipfontein pass. The Spektakel copper mule train also stopped here with its cargo of copper for export from Port Nolloth.