Rietpoort is a tiny town in the Namaqualand region along the West Coast, approximately 28 km northwest of Bitterfontein.
The tiny town can be reached via a good gravel road while the town is surrounded by granite domes which change colour according to the time of day, a truly incredible sight. Water has always been a problem in this part of the country and due to this the community has had to find ingenious ways to obtain water. One such way was to channel dew from the huge granite outcrops into a reservoir to supplement the ground water supply and a desalinisation plant has now been established.
Rietpoort is home to a beautiful Cathedral which dates back to 1937 and anyone is welcome when the local town's folk are called to prayer by the church bell every day. This area is also renowned for its spring flower display, which can be among the best in the region.
The hills surrounding the town are home to a number of settlements where the inhabitants to choose to live without electricity or running water so that they can live closer to their animals and small vegetable gardens. Many of these people still use old kookskerms (cooking shelters) made of dried thorny bushes to shelter open fires and clay ovens for baking.
The town is all about outdoor exploring, but donkey cart rides or guided tours with traditional meals included can be arranged.
The closest accommodation to Rietpoort can be fund in Bitterfontein which has a few self-catering units and guesthouses.
Things to do and see
- Rietpoort Cathedral
- Spring Flower Display
- Granite Domes
- Rietpoort Desalinisation Plant
- Donkey Cart Rides
Rietpoort receives approximately 268 mm of rain annually with the majority of its rainfall occurring during the winter months.
Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 14˚C and 28˚C.
Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 3˚C and 18˚C.
The town of Rietpoort was established in 1913 by a Dutch Catholic Missionary, Father Cornelius van’t Westeinde. On arriving he spent his first 18 months in a cave in the area just outside of town and began his services in the open air before the Church was constructed. This cave can still be visited today.
The Church was inaugurated in 1937.
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