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For the Scottish town, see Fraserburgh.
Top: skyline of Fraserburg at dusk. Left: the Dutch Reformed Church on the main street. Middle right: town's post office. Bottom right: a Corbelled House built by Trekboers before the town was established.
Top: skyline of Fraserburg at dusk. Left: the Dutch Reformed Church on the main street. Middle right: town's post office. Bottom right: a Corbelled House built by Trekboers before the town was established.
Fraserburg is located in South Africa
 Fraserburg shown within South Africa
Coordinates: 31°54′52″S 21°30′43″E / 31.91444°S 21.51194°E / -31.91444; 21.51194Coordinates: 31°54′52″S 21°30′43″E / 31.91444°S 21.51194°E / -31.91444; 21.51194
Country South Africa
Province Northern Cape
District Namakwa
Municipality Karoo Hoogland
 • Total 98.88 km2 (38.18 sq mi)
Population (2011)[1]
 • Total 3,029
 • Density 31/km2 (79/sq mi)
Racial makeup (2011)[1]
 • Black African 4.8%
 • Coloured 84.8%
 • Indian/Asian 0.6%
 • White 9.5%
 • Other 0.3%
First languages (2011)[1]
 • Afrikaans 95.8%
 • Xhosa 1.3%
 • Other 3.0%
Postal code (street) 6960
PO box 6960
Area code 023

Fraserburg is a town in the Karoo region of South Africa's Northern Cape province. It is situated at an altitude of 1,385m on a high Karoo plateau, north of the Nuweveld Mountains. It is currently included in the southern Namakwa DM. The town has some of the coldest winters in South Africa.

The nearest towns are Williston, Sutherland, Loxton and Leeu-Gamka, all of which are more than 100 km distant.

A particularly good example of a Corbelled house can be found in the town, there are others in the district. The town is also well known for the large number of unique and well preserved fossil finds that litter the surrounding area.


A photograph down the main road running from Leeu Gamka of the old Dutch Reformed Church in 1899.

The earliest known inhabitants of the area were the San people and their artefacts and rock paintings can still be found in the area. The first Europeans to arrive in the region were Trekboers who arrived in 1759. The first settler to be recorded in these parts was Willem Steenkamp, after whom the Steenkampsberg is named.[2] In 1851 Fraserburg was established on the farm Rietfontein and named after the Scottish immigrant Reverend Colin Fraser.[3]

A post office was established in 1858, seven years after the town's founding, this led to an era of development for the area. In 1959 a magistrates office was opened and in 1860 a police station was opened and the town's first medical doctor arrived. In 1861 a prison was opened in the town, it closed 107 years later in 1968. In 1870 the town's first attorney and noted Afrikaans author, HWA Cooper, moved to the town where he wrote the "Boerebrieven" in the Afrikaans newspaper Het Volksblad, writing under the pseudonym Samuel Zwaartman.[4]

The town was declared a municipality on June 6, 1862.[4]

There are many Victorian era houses in the town dating to the era of the ostrich feather and wool booms of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

In 1861 the town's distinctive pepperpot shaped bell tower was built. In 1870 a powder magazine, which still stands on the edge of town, was build by the British army in case of war with the neighbouring Griqua people and was used in during the Anglo-Boer War. In 1938 the town's first power station was installed with 7 Lister Blackstone generators -still present- used to power the town at the time it was connected to the national grid in 1983.[5]

Fossil deposits[edit]

In 1968 on a nearby farm a number of very well preserved fossilised footsteps were discovered dating back 250 million years to the Permian Period, most notable of which is a very well preserved Bradysaurus footprint.[6] Since then a number of fossilised remains of other pre-dinosaur creatures such as Pareiasaurs, Dinocephalias, and Therapsidas have been discovered in an area regarded as one of the best paleontological sites in South Africa.[7]

Fossils of some of the following Permian period reptiles have been found in the area:

Notable residents[edit]

Notable residents of Fraserburg include:

  • A.G. Visser, famous Afrikaans poet was born in Fraserburg.
  • HWA Cooper (Afrikaans Wikipedia), a noted 19th century Afrikaans attorney and writer lived and wrote most of his work whilst in Fraserburg.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d "Main Place Fraserburg". Census 2011. 
  2. ^ "Fraserburg, Northern Cape, South Africa". Lodge Safaris. Retrieved 7 February 2011. 
  3. ^ Raper, P.E. (2004). South African Place Names. Jonathan Ball, Jhb & Cape Town. p. 105. ISBN 1-86842-190-2. 
  4. ^ a b "Fraserburg". Karoo Hoogland. Retrieved 8 April 2015. 
  5. ^ "Fraserburg Tourism". Karoo Hoogland. Retrieved 6 April 2015. 
  6. ^ "Ancient footprints, Fraserburg". South South Africa Tourism. Retrieved 6 April 2015. 
  7. ^ "FRASERBURG - PALEONTOLOGICAL SITE". Karoo Hues. 20 May 2013. Retrieved 6 April 2015. 
  8. ^ "Fraserburg: Getting around". Retrieved 6 April 2015. 

External links[edit]