On first impression Namaqualand, looks like a harsh, relentless, arid wilderness.
1. Experience some interesting historical architecture. Choose between the Methodist Church in Leliefontein - the second oldest church in Namaqualand, or The First Dutch Reformed Church which was first used for periodic meetings as Springbok was not the seat of the congregation.
2. Pella mission station is worth a visit. The building material for this place was carted out of the Oriver range by donkeys and it took 7 years to complete. On site, you'll find the second largest date plantation in the Southern Hemisphere.
3. Visit the Old Cemetry where mining pioneers bones where laid to rest. Gravestones date back to the 1860s.
4. The Blue Mine was the first commercial mine in South Africa. It was founded in 1852 for copper mining. The Van der Stel Mine was one of several shafts sunk by Simon Van der Stel in 1685.
5. At the Mining Museum at Nababeep you can learn about the history of copper mining in the area. "Clara", the last steam locomotive used on the track from Nababeep to Port Nolloth, is now in permanent retired splendour at the museum.
6. Adjacent to the Cornish Beam Pump you will find the The Smoke, it was used from 1929 – 1952. It was declared a national monument in memory of the pioneer miners of Namaqualand.
7. The best example of orbicul diorite in South Africa can be found at The Orbicule Koppie Exhibits.
8. The Hester Malan Nature Reserve is home to the South West zebra, oryx and springbok. Visit the nursery of succulents or take a hike through the reserve. You can still drive on some of the roads to see the wonderful sight of Namaqualand Daisies in the flower season.
9. Southern Africa’s largest mountain desert park is the Richtersveldt Ais-Ais Transfontier National Park. It is home to the leopards, lizards and 30% of South Africa’s succulent plant species.
10. River rafting down the Orange River at Vioolsdrift is a must-do for all adrenalin enthusiasts.
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