Colesberg is a lovely town in a hilly landscape and stands in the shadow of the towering Coleskop Mountain. The town is a convenient stop-over for travellers on National Road N1 between Cape Town and Johannesburg, between the south and north of South Africa, and has several comfortable accommodation facilities. The mountain overlooking the town, Coleskop, was once known as Toverberg (“Magic Mountain”). Imagine to what evil powers early travellers attributed the fact that the mountain appears to come no closer than when it is first spotted some 40 km away. Missionary work started in the area in 1814, but the Cape Colony government stopped this activity when white farmers complained about the large numbers of Khoisan that the mission stations had attracted. By 1830, a town had been laid out. Colesberg was named after Sir Lowry Cole, Governor of the Cape Colony at the time.
Adventure and Sport
Boating, boardsailing, waterskiing: Vanderkloof Dam on the Orange River, north-west of the town, has facilities for several water sports.
Hiking and biking: Several farms have well-marked trails for hiking and mountain biking.
Hunting: Contact the Northern Cape Hunters’ Association for more information.
Fauna and Flora
Doornkloof Nature Reserve: Observe animal species such as kudu, brown hyena, bat-eared fox and mountain reedbuck that live on the south-eastern banks of the Vanderkloof Dam, about 50 km from Colesberg. A 10-km stretch of the Seekoei (“Hippopotamus”) River flows through the reserve and wild olive-, sweet-thorn- and karee trees grow in abundance.
History and Architecture
Anglo-Boer War Sites: At one stage during the Anglo-Boer War, Colesberg was the most southerly point at which the war was fought. The Local Information Office offers tours of the important war sites. Christ Church: Sophia, the wife of the Anglican Bishop Gray, designed this church, which was built in 1854. The interior of the building is beautifully decorated, striking proof of a woman’s touch.
Architectural styles: The buildings in the town are of Karoo, Cape Dutch, Victorian and Georgian styles. Flat-roofed Karoo cottages line both sides of Bell Street and the old horse mill is still in working order. A walking tour of the town leads one past all the interesting buildings and takes approximately three hours to complete.
Dutch Reformed Church: The church, in Church Street, was built in 1863.
Schutz and De Jager Building: This, the oldest building in Colesberg, is in Church Street.
Trinity Methodist Church: The building in Church Street dates from 1840. The New Trinity Methodist Church in Stockenstroom Street was built in 1882.
Colesberg Kemper Museum: The building in Murray Street dates back to 1862 and was once the town clerk’s office. The museum documentation and artefacts include the Kemper collection (dating back to the 1880s), Anglo-Boer War paraphernalia, a Karoo Nomad exhibition and a 19th-century toy collection.
Diamond Mark: The town clerk’s office contains the original window pane on which the initials “DP” were scratched with the first diamond discovered in South Africa (found at Hopetown in 1866).