Northern Cape DestinationsMarydale, Upper Karoo
To the average person Marydale seems in the middle of nowhere. It lies far north west – only the town of Kenhardt stands between it and the Augrabies Falls National Park on the border with Namibia.
Marydale's NG Church, the reason for the little town's existence, still stands on Snyman Street across the street from the Marydale Supermarket with its own in store Standard Bank ATM. The town was named after the wife of the man who sold the church a portion of his farm for its use.
The river that is supposed to run through town is invariably dry and, on the face of it, this is a little town that time forgot.
Yet drive Connan Street and the little Karoo huisies are pleasing. Those who want a break from it all to a place where crime is almost unheard of and the locals greet you like a long lost friend head here. It's a great place to chill and watch the world go by. But the emphasis is on complete down time. Not much happens in Marydale, but the nothingness is attractive.
The Orange River and Boegoeberg Dam near Groblershoop provide watery diversion, whilst 8 km outside Kenhardt there is a quiver tree forest. The kokerboom, or quiver tree, is one of the most distinctive plants of the far north-western parts of South Africa and critically endangered due to climate change. The Kenhardt to Cape Town road is littered with hundreds of these unusual trees.
Most people, if they've heard of Marydale at all, know it as the town closest to the Putsonderwater railway station (yes, it really does exist, and there is a well without water). Putsonderwater might have been voted 'best railway station in the country' during the late '80s but today it serves as little more than a whirlwind photo moment stop.