In the midst of farms and flat-topped hills lies the village of Carnarvon, named after a one-time Colonial Secretary, Lord Carnarvon. Settlement in the area dates back to 1795 when a Rhenish mission was built to serve the Xhosa communities who had moved up the Orange River. Carnarvon has some excellent examples of corbelled houses, a distinctive Northern Cape architectural style, dating to as far back as 1811 and 1815.
Adventure and Sport
Hiking: For those who would like to absorb the splendour of Nature first-hand, the hiking trail in the area presents an ideal opportunity.
Hunting: Contact the Northern Cape Hunters’ Association for more information.
4×4: Several 4×4 routes are available in the area, for example at Oukraal.
Archaeology and Palaeontology
San Rock Art: Several rock paintings can be viewed in the vicinity.
Art and Craft
Oukraal Art and Crafts: Local artists sell their art and crafts at Oukraal.
Fauna and Flora
Carnarvon Nature Reserve: The reserve is also known as the Appie van Heerden Nature Reserve. It lies 2 km from town off Road R63 to Loxton.
Several species of Karoo plants thrive here and gemsbok, black wildebeest, zebra and springbok roam the area.
Tortoise Reserve: About 60 mountain tortoises make their slow and patient way around the reserve. Some are so tame that they will even approach you if you offer them a snack.
History and Architecture
Anglo-Boer War Fort: The fort stands at the top of Carnarvon Koppie. Blikkies Bar: Have a cold brew in the bar, surrounded by beer cans collected from all over the world. Carnarvon Museum: The museum is in the Old Church Hall and covers the cultural history of the region and its people and includes a corbelled house. Corbelled Houses: The corbelled houses of the Northern Cape were built by white farmers who had to make use of any available materials in the area. They used flat stones instead of wood for the roof trusses (as trees are very rare in the Karoo) and a mixture of chaff and soil as cement. A mixture of fat and ox-blood gave the floors an earthy colour. There is a corbelled hut next to the municipal buildings in town.