Northern Cape DestinationsPrieska, Upper Karoo
243 km south-east of Upington, the town of Prieska lies right on the Orange River in the midst of dry country in the sense that it seldom rains and summer days soar upwards in the region of 40 degrees Celsius.
The unusual name is a derivative of a Koranna word that apparently means 'place of the lost she-goat', about which people speculate - although nobody knows quite which goat, or when.
The area between Prieska and the Namibian border on the other side of the Augrabies Falls National Park, is unofficially known as the 'Rock Garden Route' in reference to the range of rare succulents that grow in this part of the country. These include the quiver tree and 'halfmens' or half human succulents called Pachypodium namaquanum.
Prieska is set at the foot of the Doringberg, its streets littered with older, historic homes with wooden floors and tin roofs, some of which are now zoned for business. Because of where it lies it often serves as a 'halfway house' for those en route to Namibia.
The proximity of the river to Prieska means that the river's edge is lined with irrigation farms (farms that grow crops dependent on water). A little further on and farms mainly raise sheep, cattle and game.
Interesting 'sights' in Prieska:
• the Prieska Museum on Victoria Street includes a display of early farm implements
• Die Bos Nature Reserve is filled with local indigenous trees, shrubs, birds and picnic spots as well as suspended birdges across the Prieska River
• Wonderdraai (wonder corner) is an unusual occurrence where the Orange River forms a U around an island in the shape of a horse shoe that creates the illusion of the river flowing upstream
• a fort built entirely out of tiger eye stone by British soldiers during the South African War
• a memorial garden in town that hold a number of British soldiers' graves
• the Ria Husiamen Aloe Garden - a wonderful collection of succulents
• the Schumann Rock collection that features ancient Khoisan stone tools and semi-precious stones
For additional information see our article at "Have you been to Prieska?".