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Keimoes is a beautiful small town approximately 40 km southwest of Upington in the Northern Cape. Keimoes is a lush green town in an otherwise arid region which probably owes its attractiveness, and name, to the local shimmering mountain.
What visitors are most likely not aware of is that this oasis of a town is made up of more than 120 islands – with people actually living on most of them! The vineyards and water wheels of Keimoes are world famous, and in a good year its raisin crops are exported throughout the globe. Sultanas, other grape varieties, lucerne, wheat and fruit are grown under irrigation from the Orange River. Virtually every inch of soil is under irrigation.
One of the towns greatest attractions lies just 4 km away, the Tierberg Nature Reserve. At the summit of the reserve, Tierberg, meaning “Tiger Mountain”, there is a lookout with a marvellous view across the Orange River Valley, its beautiful islands as well as its irrigation scheme.
Keimoes is now part of the popular Kokerboom Food & Wine Route that takes in Upington, Kanoneiland, Riemvasmaak, the Augrabies Falls and Kakamas as well. Visitors wanting to experience this route need to set aside at least a week of travelling time – there’s just too much to see and enjoy along the way.
There are also a few monuments in Keimoes boasting rich cultural heritage which includes the Dutch Reformed Mission Church built by The Rev Schröder in 1889.
Accommodation in Keimoes includes B&B’s, Guesthouses, self-catering units and camping facilities.
Things to do and see
- Dutch Reformed Mission Church
- Persian Waterwheel
- Koms Quiver Tree Nursery
- Bezalel Wine & Brandy Estate
- Khi Solar One
- Kokerboom Food & Wine Route
- Tierberg Nature Reserve
- Riemvasmaak Hot Springs, Kakamas
Keimoes receives approximately 154 mm of rain annually, it is a desert climate with virtually no rainfall during the year.
Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 16˚C and 33˚C.
Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 4˚C and 23˚C.
There are local flights into Upington Airport, 69 km away via the N14 and into Kimberley Airport, 468 km away, via the N8. Car hire facilities are available at the Airport.
The origin of this little oasis’s name is in dispute. Legend has it that Klaas Lukas, a Koranna river-people leader, established a village on the banks of the Orange River near the Tier Mountains, and he called the village Keimoes (mouse nest) after the colonies of mice living there. it is easy to picture the Korana chiefs Klaas Lukas and Piet Rooi who used to hide with up to 10 000 stolen livestock on the island maze in the 19th century and this explains the name of one of the koppies – Loerberg. Directly translated this means “Mountain from where one can peep”.
A more probable origin lies in the Nama words ‘gei’ (great) and ‘mus’ (fountain or eye). The name “Keimoes” means “Big eye” and so two possible explanations are given - that it refers to a permanent fountain near the Roman Catholic Mission station or to the magnificent view of the area from Tierberg. The latter is more widely accepted.
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