Alexander Bay lies at the top of the Cape West Coast, on the border with Namibia, in an area known as Little Namaqualand. There is nothing more northerly than this small seaside town which can be found on the mouth of the Orange River.
There is not much more to the tiny town than old mining houses and wide open sandy, mine land, but in this is where the towns history lies. Visitors can take historic diamond mine tours in a town that markets itself as the “Diamond Coast – Namaqualand Forever”.
With the diamonds now all been mined, the unspoilt surroundings offer a quiet and peaceful getaway destination for travellers and outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy 4 x 4, walking and cycling trails. The Orange River mouth also hosts a wetland of international importance, in turn supporting an immense variety of bird and aquatic species. This area was recently declared a "Ramsar Site", (The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance).
Alexander Bay is less than hours’ drive from Port Nolloth which has a few activities and attractions of its own. Accommodation can be found in both towns, the most popular being rented seaside cottages or quaint Bed & Breakfasts however, in Alexander Bay, Brandkaros Resort also offers caravan and camping sites as well.
Things to do and see
- Akkedis Pass
- Goegap Nature Reserve
- Namaqua National Park
- Diamond Tours
- Fishing & Outdoor Trails
- Port Nolloth Museum
- The Salt Pans
- Port Nolloth Lighthouse
Alexander Bay receives approximately 20mm of rain per year with most of its annual rainfall during winter.
Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 16˚C and 35˚C.
Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 9˚C and 25˚C.
There are the occasional domestic flights into Upington Airport which is approximately 608 km away from Alexander Bay along the N14. A more popular route however, is to travel the 786 km’s from Cape Town along the N7, stopping along the way at the many wonderful West Coast towns. Car hire facilities are available at all Airports.
The world's richest deposits of alluvial diamonds are in the area around Alexander Bay however, it was copper, not diamonds, which first put the Bay on the map. Alexander Bay was named after Sir James Alexander, the man who founded the copper industry of Namaqualand in the 1860’s. He floated ore down the Orange River in barges and transferred it to ships in the Bay for export. Unfortunately, this period of prosperity was short lived and by 1875 the exporting of copper came to an end. The town rather resembled a ghost town after this however, in 1926 diamonds were discovered and Alexander Bay once again came to life.
The discovery of diamonds changed the course of history for this isolated town as fortune hunters flocked to the area. The finds were so rich that within a year the government had taken over the diggings, declaring it a state mine, and closed off the whole stretch of the coast to Port Nolloth to prevent the market being flooded. Up until recently Alexander Bay was closed to visitors, bar those with a permit, and was considered a high-risk area because of the diamonds.
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