Western Cape DestinationsVan Wyksdorp, Karoo
The little Karoo village of Van Wyksdorp lies on the R327 from Ladismith, just off the famous R62, in the foothills of the Rooiberg Mountains. It's the kind of town people describe as a typical Karoo 'dorp' - a rural town in essence, in the heart of Kannaland.
Whilst some travellers dismiss Van Wyksdorp as a forgotten corner of the Klein Karoo, those in the know will tell you that it is experiencing the type of boom that other R62 towns, like Stanford, Greyton, Montagu and Barrydale, have already enjoyed. It is true that it lies on a gravel road, and it is quite a bit further afield than Barrydale and Ladismith (what's 42 kilometres between friends) so not quite as accessible as the other towns already mentioned, but residents believe that for this reason Van Wyksdorp maintains its charm, and is known as something of a hideaway for those prepared to go the extra mile.
Called Van Wyksdorp for the rather obvious reason that most of the residents at one time were called Van Wyk, this rural hamlet was a bustling town during the two ostrich feather booms, before and after the Second Anglo Boer War.
Today it is popular for other reasons, not least of which is the mountain scenery - you can reach Van Wyksdorp via Calitzdorp and Riversdale over both the Rooiberg Pass and the Garcia Passes. Much of the countryside around the town is conservancy, and the town lies within what is known as the Gouritz Corridor, one of 35 biodiversity hot spots in the world.
Van Wyksdorp is also part of the Kanna Biodiversity Route, and the Gouritz Initiative. Water comes from a natural mountain spring, known as the Eye, and the village water mill is being restored.