Lost Town of the Northern Cape
Vanwyksvlei is a small town situated 149 km from Brandvlei and 100 km west of Prieska and north of Carnarvon on untarred roads - as are all the roads that lead to the little lost town of the Northern Cape.
The town lies in what is considered one of the driest and hottest regions of the country known as Dorsland (thirsty land) and so the towns name Vanwyksvlei (marsh) seems rather misleading. However, on closer inspection the name may not be as far off the mark as it appears because the Vanwyksvlei Dam, although not particularly full, still has some shallow water which the Flamingo’s have begun to frequent.
Describing Vanwyksvlei as a town in the middle of nowhere is quite accurate. All that still remains of the small town is a few houses, an NG Church, the butcher, Co-op and Kafee and the old Hotel in Hoof Street. The town paints a picture of an old ghost town from an old western movie! What the town once was when the Dam was first built is left up to your imagination!
Vanwyksvlei accommodation includes one or two Guesthouses and B&B’s in the vicinity of the town!
Things to do and see
- Van Wyksvlei NG Church
- Van Wyksvlei Hotel
- Van Wyksvlei Salt Pan
- Van Wyksvlei Dam
- San Rock Art
- Tankwa Karoo National Park
- Carnarvon Museum, 74 km
Van Wyksvlei receives approximately 192 mm of rain annually, mostly during the summer months. It is known as a desert climate with virtually no rainfall during the year.
Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 15˚C and 36˚C.
Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 1˚C and 22˚C.
There are daily flights into Upington Airport, just 303 km via the N10 and into Bloemfontein’s Bram Fischer International Airport, approximately 527 Km’s away via the R357 and N8. Car hire facilities are available at the Airport.
Vanwyksvlei was founded in 1881 and named after a farmer called Van Wyk. The Afrikaans word “vlei” means “pond” or “marsh”.
The town later saw action in the Second Boer War where two Victoria Crosses were awarded, Harry Hampton and Henry Knight were awarded the medal for gallant acts.
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