- Northern Cape
Steinkopf, 49 km north of Springbok and founded by missionaries, is a true one-horse-town in the arid savannah of Namaqualand.
The town has a rich history reflected both in old buildings such as the Rhenish Mission Station or the Old Klipfontein Hotel as well as in the varied cultures of the town's inhabitants. The original Nama settlement was situated at Bijzondermeid 5km south of present day Steinkopf. In 1818 a Rhenish Mission Station was established and in 1821 the mission was moved to current Steinkopf (then known as Kookfontein) due to a perennial spring that is still flowing today. Rev. Brecher later renamed the town Steinkopf in honour of the German minister in London.
Today Steinkopf serves a large communal stock farming area and many inhabitants work on the outlying mines in Namaqualand. The district is noted for the number of matjieshuise, traditional dome-shaped reed huts made by the Nama people. There is also a date plantation in the area which is worth a visit.
Steinkopf shows all the typical faces of the dry and mountainous Richtersveld semi-desert, but with a slightly greener touch. Mountain ranges on the horizon announce the nearby Richtersveld National Park and the plains awaken from a long summer's sleep from late August until October, when purple, white and yellow flowers dot the landscape.
Take a walk through the dusty streets past coffee shops, schools and churches, exploring the historically and culturally diverse town of Steinkopf at your leisure or visit the traditional communal farm grounds of the Van Wyk family and hear Steinkopf's stories from the South African Anglo-Boer War. Visit the graves of British soldiers who died in the war at Klipfontein and Kinderlê, the burial site of Nama children tragically massacred by the San two centuries ago. The local school choir singing songs in Afrikaans, Nama, Xhosa and English is a must, so try and arrange to hear these beautiful voices
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