An arid, sparsely populated area known as “The Hardeveld” lies just north of the Knersvlakte and consists of several small hamlets making up the region. Bitterfontein is one such village and serves as the Hardevelds commercial centre.
This old traditional town can be found along the N7, 80 km’s from Vanryhnsdorp and approximately 320 km’s from Cape Town. Bitterfontein is not much more than a Hotel, a few shops and a railway station but it does have a few perks and interesting facts. Many residents still use donkey carts for transport, “soetsuurdeeg” (sweet/sour) bread is baked outside in clay ovens and each day time is set aside for catching up with friends and family.
The area is home to Martial Eagles, along with several other bird species as well as a variety of other animals such as Honey Badgers and the occasional Black-Backed Jackal. Visitors can partake in night-drives with the permission from private landowners. Bitterfontein also forms part of the Namaqualand annual flower display and has over 1300 succulent plants that can viewed on either a guided tour, walks or mountain bike rides.
Visitors can book into comfy B&B’s and Guesthouses in the area. Stay awhile or just pass through, but know that the peace, tranquillity and probably the good home cooking flavours will see you returning each time you pass this way!
Bitterfontein receives approximately 98 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 15˚C and 31˚C.
Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 6˚C and 17˚C.
There are daily flights into Cape Town International Airport. Bittersfontein is approximately 320 km’s away travelling along the . Car hire facilities are available at the Airport.
Bittersfontein received its name from the bitter, brackish water fountain which supplied the town with its water. Today the town receives its’ water from a desalination plant that filters the borehole water through a process of reverse osmosis. The plant can be visited by appointment.
An interesting fact about Bittersfontein is that in 1927 the Cape Town railway line was extended as far as this little town and a few years later in 1931 a famous diamond heist took place in Bitterfontein. Kleinzee’s monthly production of diamonds was stolen from the Postmaster’s Office before it could be railed to Cape Town. The diamonds were valued at £80 000 and the case was never solved.
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