Doorway to the Karoo
Touws River can be found along the N1, it is the first town travellers will encounter upon entering the Karoo after ascending the Hex River Pass on the N1 highway linking Cape Town with Beaufort West and beyond – a real doorway to the Karoo!
Once a thriving railway junction, Touws River is now a small town that lies at the seldom flowing Touws and Donkies Rivers. However, despite its declining fortunes as a town, Touws River is set in a most beautiful part of the Great Karoo and offers many opportunities to explore the great outdoors. Hiking, horse riding and 4X4 trails and to the north is the popular Kaggakamma reserve with ancient bushman painting sites which are 6000 years old. The nature reserve is also home to a variety of wildlife and bird species.
Touws River is also on the Flowers Route so the best time to visit would be between July and September when the countryside is alive with the beautiful shades of Karoo flowers. The towns name is the Hottentot word for “gate” and is also regarded the gateway to the famous Route 62, the longest wine route in the world!
Other interesting and unique attractions include a steam engine graveyard and most interesting of all the Loganda Pillars, used for astronomical calculations in the late 1880’s.
Accommodation in and around Touws River includes quaint B&B’s, Guesthouses and self-catering units.
Things to do and see
- Aquila Game Reserve
- Gecko Rock 4X4 Trail
- Burger Pass
- Hex River Pass
- Kaggalamma Nature Reserve
- Anysberg Horse Trails
- Touws River Old Stream Locomotive
Touws River receives approximately 227 mm of rain annually, it has a desert climate with virtually no rainfall throughout the year.
Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 13˚C and 31˚C.
Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 2˚C and 20˚C.
There are daily flights into Cape Town International Airport, 181 km away via the N1. Car hire facilities are available at the Airport.
Touws River owes its existence to a ruler, a straight line and a colonial Prime Minister! It was Sir John Molteno, who when asked what route he desired for his railway scheme in order to reach the inland from Cape Town, he took a ruler and drew a straight line to Beaufort West. Despite the fact that the route went straight through the Hex River Mountains, this was the way it did go!
So, Touws River came to be due to the need for a railway to service the newly discovered diamond fields in Kimberley. This section of the railway line was completed in 1877 and Touws River was an important railway depot at which the steam locomotives were changed after climbing the Hex River Pass.
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