Northern Cape DestinationsLoxton, Upper Karoo
Travelling through the Karoo along the popular R63 towards the West Coast and
Loxton is one of those unexpected settlements, thanks to far-seeing townsfolk who planted trees along all its streets over one hundred years ago. This shade-rich environment, along with a variety of lovely old Karoo architecture, and friendly inhabitants makes this a particularly appealing town and one that offers natural beauty year-round. Each season brings something special. Thereís the chance of snow in winter, and come spring, the pear trees that line many of its streets put on a magical show of white blossoms.
Then thereís the tranquillity. With a permanent population of just sixty-five souls in the main village itself, there is no hub-bub of activity and you wonít find a busy town centre here. Apart from the odd bakkie that passes by, the loudest sounds one usually hears is the regular donging of the church clock and the creaking of a wind pump followed by hours of peace punctuated only by the gentle coo-cooing of a dove and the buzz of insects on the hot summer air. Come nightfall, youíll see more bright stars than bright lights thanks to the lack of light and air pollution.
The lack of activity on the streets belies the bustle going on behind closed doors and garden gates. Original narrow leiwater channels are still used for flood-irrigation and in summer the fruit and vegetables that sprout from enthusiastic gardenersí plots includes garlic. Although Loxton falls into the mainly-sheep-farming category, it is also one of the largest garlic-producing areas in the country. After years of standing empty, buildings are being or have been restored and the town is enjoying a revival. It even has a little coffee shop and several guesthouses now.
With little to distract one, this is an idyllic and crime-free place to unwind, catch up on your reading, and take to the hills in the early mornings to explore the ancient dolerite koppies. Spend some time on a stoep contemplating life and you may see the odd donkey cart klip-klop sedately byÖ Come and enjoy the simple life in Loxton!
Points of interest: On farms around Loxton one may view unique Corbelled Houses that are built of local stone and shaped like old-fashioned beehives. These dwellings occur only in a small area of the Karoo, and nowhere else in the country. They were constructed around 1811 onwards by the early trekboers (migratory farmers) and due to the lack of other building materials, consist solely of local stone, with their most amazing feature being that they have a roof, which has no supporting roof beams. Visitors may visit these Corbelled Houses by prior arrangement, as well as enjoy bird watching on and around farm dams after good rains; and stop in to view the replica Dutch castle and windmill, which looks like itís stepped straight out of a fairytale.
Note: There is no bank in Loxton, and fuel is only available from the farmerís co-op, which operates on weekdays and Saturday mornings only, and is not open on public holidays.