As the sun sets behind the mountains, lights flicker on in the houses on the mountainsides and calm descends upon Springbok, the capital of the Namakwa region. Attractively situated in a narrow valley of the Klein Koperberge (“Little Copper Mountains”), the town owes its existence to rich copper deposits and to a steady supply of fresh spring water. The town, Springbokfontein, developed in 1862, named after the herds of springbok that frequented the fountain.
Adventure and Sport
4×4: Goegap Nature Reserve: Explore the reserve via the 4×4 trails that vary considerably in the steep climbs, fast downhills, rocks and sand tracks that they cover.
4×4: Richtersveld National Park: As the early morning fog rolls in from the cold Atlantic Ocean to revive the arid landscape, set off in your 4×4 to discover the secrets of the Richtersveld. It is recommended that you always drive in convoy with one or more other vehicles.
Hiking: Blue Mine: The Blue Mine is Springbok’s original copper mine. When it opened in 1852, it was the first commercial mine in the country. A walking trail at the mine offers the visitor a view of the town from its western outskirts.
Hiking: Goegap Nature Reserve: Hiking is the best way to appreciate the wild flowers that bloom during August and September. Make sure that you have plenty of water – and don’t forget the sunscreen!
Hiking: Richtersveld National Park,: The hiking trails of the park, the Vensterval (four days, three nights), Lelieshoek-Oemsberg (three days, two nights), Kodaspiek (two days, one night) are only open from 1 April to 30 September and provide an opportunity to study plants found nowhere else in the world. Unless hikers are experienced, they are advised to engage the services of an experienced guide, as there is no water in some areas and some of the terrain is difficult to travel over.
Art and Crafts
Spinning and weaving: The talented artists who live in the region display their creations at a site 50 km along the Kleinzee Road.
Culture / Community Tourism
Namastat: Visitors have the opportunity to stay in the rounded huts, an architectural form that is unique to the Nama people. Visits include meeting the local people and being treated to traditional Nama dishes. Contact the Springbok Tourism Information Office for more details.
Fauna and Flora
Goegap Nature Reserve: Only 15 km from town, this reserve conserves some 15 000 ha of typical Namakwa landscape – rocky hills and sandy flats -and supports a large number of different species of plants, birds, mammals and reptiles. Expect to be overawed by the sight of some 600 indigenous species of flowers, 45 species of mammals, 94 species of birds and several species of reptiles and amphibians. The Hester Malan Wild Flower Garden with its succulents and rock garden is a particularly attractive addition to the reserve. Richtersveld National Park: The Richtersveld National Park lies in the extreme north-west corner of the Northern Cape on the Namibian border, in the Namakwa region. Only 4×4 vehicles and vehicles with high clearance, such as kombis and LDVs can access the park. Conjure up a desolate and forbidding landscape, seemingly devoid of life, except for some far-off figures on the horizon. These patient figures are the half-mens (“half-human”), large succulents that patiently stand guard over the Richtersveld, a treasure chest containing the world’s richest desert flora.
History and Architecture
The Dutch Reformed Church: This National Monument is locally known as the Klipkerk (“Stone Church”) and was built in 1921 with dressed stone and slate. Visits can be arranged through the minister of the church.
Old Mineshaft: This shaft, 3 km south of Carolusberg, east of Springbok, was dug in 1685 on the instructions of Simon van der Stel.
Monument Koppie (“Hillock”): This Anglo-Boer War battlefield was the site of one of the Boer victories over the British. The Anglo-Boer War was fought from 1899 to 1902.
Namaqualand Museum: The museum is housed in the old Jewish Synagogue in Synagogue Street. The building was completed in 1929 and was offered to the town as a museum at a stage when there were not enough people of the Jewish faith left in town to make up a congregation.
Old Cemetery: Soldiers who died during the Anglo-Boer War, together with the mining pioneers of the town, rest in the cemetery on Kleinzee Road. Some of these graves date back to 1860.
Smelting Furnace: A short walk to the north of town in the direction of Okiep brings you upon the oldest furnace of its kind in the country. Cornish miners built the furnace in 1866 but it has not been used since 1871. It was proclaimed a national monument in 1957.