Loxton, Upper Karoo

Travelling through the Karoo along the popular R63 towards the West Coast and Namaqualand, the road passes through a little cutting in a hill before revealing the tiny village of Loxton that stands surrounded by endless plains.

Loxton is one of those unexpected karoo settlements, thanks to far-seeing townsfolk who planted trees along all its streets over one hundred years ago, that is a shade-rich environment. Along with a variety of lovely old Karoo architecture and friendly inhabitants, this is a particularly appealing town that offers natural beauty year-round.

Each season brings something special: the biting cold and 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; summer brings powerful thunderstorms, amazing rain showers, yet heat and beautiful clear skies filled to the brim with stars, and autumn is an array of red, orange and brown falling leaves.

Then, the tranquillity. With a population of just over 1,000 souls, there is no hubbub of activity. You won’t find a busy town centre here. Apart from the odd bakkie that passes by, the loudest sounds one usually hears are the regular donging of the church clock and the creaking of branches, followed by hours of peace punctuated only by the calls of birds. Come nightfall, you’ll see more bright stars than bright lights due to the lack of light and air pollution.

The lack of activity on the streets belies the bustle behind closed doors and garden gates; many small businesses are out of sight, and many families are knee-deep in the busyness of farming.

The original narrow lei water channels are for flood irrigation, and in summer, the fruit and vegetables sprouting from enthusiastic gardener's plots include 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 neglect, the town is enjoying a revival; buildings are enjoying restoration, and there are community-led projects to maintain, clean and beautify the area. It has two little coffee shops, two groceries, one with a hardware store combined, a liquor store, an art gallery and several idyllic and crime-free places to unwind, catch up on your reading, and take to the hills in the early mornings to explore the ancient dolerite koppies. Spend time on a stoep, contemplating life; you may see the odd donkey cart clip-clop by. Come and enjoy the simple life in Loxton!

Points of interest: On farms around Loxton, one may view unique Corbelled Houses built of local stone, 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 trek boers (migratory farmers). Due to the lack of other building materials, they consist solely of local stone, with their most unique feature being the roof, which has no supporting roof beams. Visitors may visit these Corbelled Houses by prior arrangement and enjoy bird watching on and around farm dams after good rains.

There is a Dutch castle replica and windmill, which looks like it stepped out of a fairytale. If you love walking, there is a riverine rabbit thinking path and several hiking trails.

It is important to note that there is no bank or petrol station in Loxton, but there is an ATM and fuel available from the farmer's co-op (KVB), which operates on weekdays and Saturday mornings but is not open on public holidays.

Travellers' Reviews

3 Reviews from SA-Venues.com travellers. All reviews are verified.

Verified reviewexcellent

Beautiful, clean town, The gem of the Karoo! Beautiful nature and friendly people, Rooi Granaat a definite stop!

Adre-Marie (Worcester)

Verified reviewexcellent

Better star gazing than Sutherland, quieter than Poffadder, more laid back than Cape Town - this is the place to visit to recharge your batteries! Sunrise over the local dam is a must, as is a walk about town ( only takes about 15 minutes)!

stephen (cape town)

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