Niewoudtville by Nature

Private Property South Africa
Anna-Marie Smith

As one of the smaller towns in the Hantam and Upper Karoo region, it keeps company with the neighbouring towns of Calvinia, Loeriesfontein and Brandvlei, each a beautiful destination in its own right.

Bearing as much similarity to the town’s name as many locals of the region, is the nearby Niewoudtville Pass located on a dirt road roughly halfway tween Citrusdal and Clanwilliam, en route to the spectacular mountain retreats of Algeria and Jamaka.

Known for its temperate Mediterranean climate, this town offers its small number of residents and passers by a list of outdoor sites to explore. These include the nearby Glacial Rock Striations dating back to the Permian era 280 million years ago, the colourful ocre Khoisan Rock Paintings at Papkuilsfontein, and the 100 metre Nieuwoudtville Falls on the nearby Doring River.

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Lying just south of Bushmanland and the Bo-Karoo, this area boasts a temperate Mediterranean climate, and ideal environment for many botanical wonders. This location is well known among keen botanists and explorers of natural wonders, such as the beautiful Quiver Tree or Kokerboom Forest in the most Southern Africa location, as well as the Hantam National Botanical Garden on the Bokkeveld Plateau just outside town.

Regarded as one of the world’s most special biodiversity treasures, and SA’s ninth National Botanical Garden, it is a first for the Northern Cape region. Hantam National Botanical Garden was originally a farm named Glenlyon, owned by Neil McGregor whose fierce protection of the unique biodiversity of the region, lead to him adopting several projects since 1960 that incuded special farming methods. While keeping public vehicles off his land, he initiated a flower bus ride around the property that allowed delighted visitors to view the magnificent floral kingdom on his farm. During the early 1990’s, when the BBC and Sir David Attenborough discovered Mc Gregor’s magnificent farm, it lead to the memorable comment from the director of London’s Kew Gardens: ‘This farm is a botanical treasure of international importance’.

The town also has a rich history, reflecting the events at the Oorlogskloof or War Gorge Nature Reserve, located approximately 10 kilometres between the towns of Van Rhynsdorp and Calvinia. In 1739, Oorlogskloof was where war broke out between the indigenous Khoi people and local farmers. Records show that local Dutch colonists were obliged to supply the Khoi with necessities, as they were resident livestock farmers on the plains with water and pasture land at their disposal. What can be seen here today is Oorlogskloof Nature Reserve, a 4 776 hectare mountain area with river gorges where the Oorlogskloof River flows through the prime fynbos and Karoo biomes.

For locals and visitors this magnificent region offers gorges, rivers, caves and plateaus to explore, as well as a number of interesting botanical explorations and hiking trails. In addition to larger portions of land owned by farmers, Niewhoudtville’s small community of just over 1000 residents occupy the village from where a thriving industry provides locals with everyday needs.

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