Colesberg, Upper Karoo
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This quiet Karoo town which serves a thriving horse and sheep stud district, has retained a few interesting reminders of the past. When visiting Colesberg, make a point of visiting the old horse-driven mill pub, the quaint Cape Karoo cottages in Bell Street and the Kemper Museum, which includes a section on the Anglo-Boer War.
The Karoo is famous for its wide open spaces and healthy climate. Colesberg has a rich history closely linked with to the legendary characters of South Africa's diamond industry. John O'Reiley, who purchased the first diamond found in South Africa from its owner, Schalk van Niekerk, and took it to Colesberg for testing. It was used to scratch "DP", the initials of Draper and Plewman, a store which still exists, on the shop's window. Once the stone passed this test. it was sent to Dr Guybourne Atherstone, a well-known geologist. He confirmed it was a diamond and so started The Diamond Rush.
Colesberg lies in typical Karoo veld and is surrounded by koppies (little hills). The most famous is Coleskop, which can be seen from a distance of over 40km. Early travellers called it "Towerberg" ("Magic Mountain"). Exploring these koppies in the area is an archaeological delight. These reveal stone-age artefacts and other interesting fragments of the past. Those who enjoy the Great Outdoors of the Great Karoo will also enjoy studying the fauna and flora of the veld around the town. Other Attractions in Colesberg include The Karoo Ostrich Farm, Doornkloof Nature Reserve.
Colesberg has several national monuments, one of which is the Colesberg-Kemper Museum. A fine example of 19th century Karoo architecture, it originally was the Colesberg Bank and later the Standard Bank. It now houses fascinating relics of the town's rich tapestry of history.
This museum started in 1924 when G L Kemper donated his collection of artefacts to the municipality. It has grown into a valuable local cultural history museum. Among its exhibits is a collection of fossils dating back to the first reptiles which inhabited this area and a permanent photographic display, compiled by UNISA, on the Karoo Nomads - (the donkey ‘karretjie' people).
For more info about Colesberg see our articles on the SA Travel News Blog:
• Colesberg Coolness
• All Roads Lead To Colesberg
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Featured Attractions in (or near) Colesberg
Lying peacefully in the mountainous upper Karoo of the Northern Cape, just outside the little town of Colesberg, Doornkloof Nature Reserve is positioned at the top end of the southern shore of the Vanderkloof Dam - South Africa’s second largest water reservoir. It shares this privilege with the Rolfontein ... more information
The Free State's largest nature reserve is a combination of the 36 487 ha Gariep Dam on the Orange River and an 11 237 ha game sanctuary on its northern shore. From the Gariep dam some 200 000 ha of land is irrigated, by means of a tunnel of 83,8 km, delivering water to the upper valleys of the Fish River, and then ... more information
Karoo is a “quenna” word meaning “dry and hard”. Gariep is also a “quenna” word meaning “big water”or river. The Karoo Gariep Concervancy is found on the Karoo “dry and hard” side of the Gariep “big river”. Like its name describes this is a very natural diverse part of South Africa. The fact that ... more information
Situated in the upper Karoo where an infinite sky and horizon seem to go on without end, the Rolfontein Nature Reserve is found roughly 16 kilometres north of Petrusville, one of many isolated little villages in the midst of the Karoo’s endless plateaus. Rolfontein borders on the Vanderkloof Dam - South Africa’s ... more information
The 80 000 hectare Tankwa Karoo National Park, proclaimed in 1986 and still in a development stage, is at present in a veld recovery phase and it will be some time before the original vegetation re-establishes itself. Even so, after the occasional shower, the park erupts into a dazzling display of flowering ... more information
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