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An Oasis in Bushman Land
Lying only a few kilometres from the Orange River, Pella is a little oasis in Bushman land and apart from being well-known for their delicious dates, this dry, dusty desert town is also just as famous for its Catholic Cathedral! The Pella Cathedral which forms the centre of the oasis was built by French missionaries who at first had absolutely no idea what they were doing. Father JM Simon, Father Leo Wolf and the brothers of the Order of St Francis de Sales completed the cathedral in 1894.
The sun-baked hills have little vegetation but are vividly coloured by minerals in the soil – the area is also rich in gemstones such as malachite, jasper and rose quartz.
Pella today is not much more than a few sandy roads and a couple of brick buildings. The nuns will show you around the small museum alongside the cathedral and the Koffie Kroeg (Coffee Shop) near the entrance into town offers light meals as well as unique accommodation in the form of traditional domed reed matjieshuis huts.
Other accommodation can be found in the neighbouring towns or lodges in the area.
Things to do and see
- Pella Cathedral & Museum
- Pella Mission Station
- Namaqua 4 X 4 Trails
- Agrabies National Park
- Namaqualand Flower Route
- Burkes Pass, Springbok
- Riemvasmaak Hot Springs, Augrabies
- Riemvasmaak Moutain Bike Trails
Keimoes receives approximately 95 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 41˚C.
Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 4˚C and 24˚C.
There are local flights into Upington Airport, 254 km away via the N14, into Kimberley Airport, 655 km away, via the N14 and N8 and into the Cape Town International Airport, 712 km away via the scenic N7. Car hire facilities are available at the Airport.
Pella was first known as Cammas Fonteyn. In 1814, after the feared Nama Jager Afrikaner attacked the Great Namaqualand Mission, the Khoi survivors fled to Cammas Fonteyn, where the resident London Mission Society minister renamed the town Pella. He named it after the ancient Palestine refuge for Christians crossing the Jordan River in flight.
Due to drought the Mission was abandoned in 1872 and was only reopened in 1878 by the Roman Catholic Church.
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