In 1868, frontier unrest erupted into open conflict and a special magistrate and a police contingent were sent to uphold law and peace in the area. In December 1868, these men erected their camp under a camel-thorn tree and this was the beginning of what would later become the town of Kenhardt. The Kenhardt landscape is dry but is also characterised by a lush green belt fed by the Hartbees River and by irrigation water from the Rooiberg Dam. Because of the lack of trees in the area, a large number of weaver birds have to use telegraph poles along the road to build their community nests. Their large nests can easily house 150 birds and these blocks of “bird apartments” can be lived in for more than a century. This arid land holds a fascination of its own, the tedium of brown sand being broken only by black doleritic boulders.

Adventure and Sport

Verneukpan: The wide-open spaces of Verneukpan offer ideal opportunities for parasailing. Arrangements should be made beforehand. Verneukpan was made famous in 1929 when Sir Malcolm Campbell unsuccessfully attempted to break the world land-speed record in his Bluebird 1.

Archaeology and Palaeontology

San Trail: A guide can lead you over several hills, in the footsteps of the San, to spots which the San chose as canvases for their art.

Fauna and Flora

Quiver Tree Forest: One can hike through this forest of some 4 000 to 5 000 trees that lies just outside Kenhardt on the way to Cape Town.

History and Architecture

Giant Camelthorn Tree: The tree under which the special magistrate set up camp in 1868 is between 500 and 600 years old.

Old Library Building: The building dates from 1897 and was used as a library until 1977. It was declared a national monument in 1978.

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