The Town of Springbok
Set in a narrow valley bisecting the granite domes of the Klein Koperberge (small copper mountains), is the principal town of Namakwa, Springbok. Shortened from Springbokfontein in 1911, it owes its existence to copper-mining undertaken after 1850 and a ready supply of water. In the late 1870s, rich copper deposits at Okiep saw most Springbok residents following their dreams to drought-stricken claims. Many returned. The British fort built on the hillock in the center of town during the Anglo-Boer War was destroyed by dynamite planted by a commando led by General Jan Smuts.
Springbok is the city center or ‘big town’ of Namaqualand. It is in the North-West of the Northern Cape. Springbok is the town where everyone within a radius of 200km comes every month to get their supplies. The vastness of Namaqualand has made the city centrally located. Most of the merchants have settled here in supplying customers from all over Namaqualand. The population is 12000 people. You will find Springbok along the N7 towards Namibia. The town of Springbok is a perfect stopover for supplies when visiting or exploring Namaqualand.
Springbok offers excellent stopovers for travelers. Springbok has several shops along with the famous Mountain View Guest House. The town was founded in 1862 and was called Springbokfontein. The ‘fountain’ as part of the town name was later removed, and it became only Springbok. The town was built due to the copper mining in Okiep. The Climate in Namaqualand is a very sunny one. Namaqualand will count a minimum of 330 days of sunshine a year. Today the town relies on travelers and tourists passing through the city. There are still some mining activities in the area, but no copper mining anymore.
SPRINGBOK AND NEARBY SETTLEMENTS TRAVEL DISTANCE.
Garies ~ 110km
Steinkopf ~ 4okm
Hondeklipbaai ~ 105km
Nababeep ~ 46km
Port Nolloth ~ 140km
Okiep ~ 8km
BLUE MINE ~ Springbok’s first, it includes a walking trail offering views of the town from its western outskirts.
DUTCH REFORMED CHURCH (or Klipkerk) ~ The church was built in 1921.
GOEGAP NATURE RESERVE ~ This reserve features most of Namakwa’s natural riches, supporting 600 indigenous flower species, 45 mammal species, and 94 bird species. The Hester Malan Wild Flower Garden showcases many Namakwa succulents and a rock garden. The reserve is open daily from 08h00-16h00. Tel 027 718 9906 Fax 027 718 1286.
MINESHAFT ~ Dug in 1685 on Simon van der Stel’s instructions (east of Springbok, at Carolusberg).
MONUMENT KOPPIE ~ Town center. Wrested from the British by Boer forces, commemorates the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902).
NAMAKWA 4X4 ROUTE ~ Starting at the picturesque Pella Mission Station, the Namakwa Route follows the Orange River 642km to the sea. You’ll cross Namakwa Brokenveld, False Succulent Karoo, Arid Karoo, Western Mountain Karoo, Succulent Karoo, and Sandveld. There are three routes lasting 2-9 days. Tel 027 712 8035/6.
NAMAQUALAND MUSEUM ~ In the old synagogue. Tel 027 718 8100.
SMELTING FURNACE ~ To the north of Springbok, a national monument, unused since 1871.
SYNAGOGUE ~ Completed in 1929 and now used as the Namaqualand Museum. Tel 027 712 2071.
WAR GRAVES ~ With those of mining pioneers dating to 1860, they lie in a cemetery on the Kleinzee road.