Orania, Upper Karoo

South Africa's last apartheid outpost, Orania is the only town in the country that is for whites only.

Despite sounding, in the new democratic South Africa, like the stuff of myth and legend, Orania is very much a reality. It lies on the border of the Northern Cape and the Free State on Route 369, 41 kilometres south west of Hopetown, in a village that once housed construction workers for the Vanderkloof Dam.

The Orania movement, say Oranians, is a way for them to preserve the white African ethnic group, the Afrikaners, and to remain true to their culture and language; it is not about racism. Rather, they say, it is an effort not to lose their Afrikaner way of life or to 'melt' into Mandela's 'rainbow nation'.

On the one hand you could see Orania as a town wanting to maintain racial discrimination (although it is the only town in the country where class is not determined by colour), its streets lined with statues of Afrikaner heroes, like Paul Kruger.

On the other hand Orania has managed to establish, and survive, as an independent community that uses its own form of currency, known as the Ora (pegged to the South African rand), runs its own radio station, and uses fairly revolutionary farming methods. Considering the dearth of cheap labour, Oranians are also not frightened of hard work (Orania's insignia is a boy rolling up his sleeves and getting down to work).

Interestingly the community is said to have grown by 10 per cent a year since its inception.

And, in defence of their non-racist claims, is the signing by Orania's leaders of an agreement with the Eastern Cape's Mnyameni community (2011), agreeing to help them develop their own institutions, reducing their dependency on government.

Famous visitors include: Nelson Mandela, who arrived for tea with Betsie Verwoerd, the widow of Hendrik Verwoerd (architect of Apartheid) shortly after his release; and Julius Malema, who visited in 2009, and apparently praised the residents' co-operation.

Others describe the town as 'eerie' and difficult to get used to the white's only situation.

Unsurprisingly the town has many requests for visits. If the five star lodge is anything to go by, Orania is geared up for tourism.

ps: don't forget a photo at the Koeksister monument...

In the vicinity

Hotels & other accommodation options

Things to do in the area

Noteworthy attractions

Find accommodation in Orania

FIND / South Africa Accommodation / Northern Cape Accommodation / Upper Karoo Accommodation / Orania Accommodation

Orania as a destination

Want to stay overnight?


When would you like to stay?
Choose dates

Number of Guests

Why book with SA-Venues.com
  • Your card is safe with us; strictest card verification in the industry and we don't store card numbers.
  • No airy fairy service fees; you save!
  • We care. Service with integrity.
  • Multiple payment methods:
    credit card, SID instant EFT, bank transfer.
  • All Orania property owners / managers are verified (our experience protects you from online fraud).
  • Secure your booking
Our Payment Protection Guarantee only applies if your deposit payment is made via SA-Venues.com

SA-Venues.com® has been assisting travellers with their South Africa travel plans since 1999, and is the largest, independent online travel guide for South Africa available in both English and German.