De Aar is a town in the Northern Cape, South Africa. It has a population of around 30,000 inhabitants.
It is the second-most important railway junction in the country, situated on the line between Cape Town and Kimberley. The junction was of particular strategic importance to the British during the Second Boer War. De Aar is also a primary commercial distribution centre for a large area of the central Great Karoo. Major production activities of the area include wool production and livestock farming. The area is also popular for hunting, despite the fact that the region is rather arid.
De Aar was originally established on the Farm "De Aar", the name means "the artery", a reference to its underground water supply. The Cape Government Railways were founded in 1872, and the route that the government chose for the line to connect the Kimberley diamond fields to Cape Town on the coast, ran directly through De Aar. Because of its central location, the government also selected the location for a junction between this first railway line, and the other Cape railway networks further east, in 1881. In 1899 two brothers who ran a trading store and hotel at the junction, Isaac and Wulf Friedlander, purchased the farm of De Aar. Following the Anglo Boer War, the Friedlander brothers surveyed the land for the establishment of a town. The municipality was created a year later and the towns first mayor, Dr Harry Baker, was elected in 1907.
De Aar has a climate of extremes - very hot in the summer (days and nights) and icy in the winter months. The average annual precipitation is 196 mm (8 in), with most rainfall occurring mainly during summer and autumn.
There are ancient Khoisan rock engravings on the Nooitgedacht and Brandfontein farms. Additionally, there is a "Garden of Remembrance", which honours the British troops killed in the Anglo-Boer War. The town is also home to a major military ammunition dump. The DoD Ammunition Sub Depot De Aar is located about 2km west of the town. De Aar is famous amongst Paragliding & Hang-Gliding pilots worldwide as it holds 2 World records & many countries' National Distance records. De Aar was also the host to the XC World Series in 2008 and 2009. During the summer months De Aar is home for several thousand Kestrels. Every evening the birds fill the sky above town and land in the big trees near the hospital just as the sun sets to spend the night.