Northern Cape DestinationsGriquatown, Diamond Fields
Griquatown, more commonly known as Grikwastad, lies on the N8 that links Kimberley with Upington, just beyond the northern reaches of the Nama Karoo, although others will argue it is still within the Great Karoo. It is essentially a sheep farming community that you will find here, reminiscent of a number of little 'outback' towns found in South Africa - sleepy, laidback and predominantly Afrikaans speaking.
Despite this, the town has quite a history. It used to be known as Klaarwater but changed its name to indicate a mixed community that lived here at the beginning of the nineteenth century, originally known as the Chaguriqua tribe - a mixed bunch from Piketberg. They lived amongst the local tribes of the Koranna and Tswana people. Encouraged to do so by the mission station here, the Chaguriqua renamed themselves Griqua, and the town became known as Griquatown.
The town, whose neighbours include other little dorps like Douglas, Prieska, Groblershoop and Putsonderwater (perhaps Putsonderwater is pushing it as far as 'neighbours' go, but it is close enough to qualify), was placed on the map with the discovery nearby of diamonds. Even today it is on the route known as the Diamond Fields, and is well known for semi-precious stones like the jasper and tiger's eye.
Whilst driving through here, or staying on neighbouring farms, try to visit the Mary Moffat Museum whose building dates back to 1826 and was the original mission church of Griquatown, named after the missionary Robert Moffat's daughter (she married David Livingstone). And see the two cannons known as Old Niklaas and Old Grietjie given to the community by Queen Victoria.