Springbok, Northern Cape

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Springbok
A view of Springbok from "Klipkoppie"
A view of Springbok from "Klipkoppie"
Springbok is located in South Africa
Springbok
Springbok
 Springbok shown within South Africa
Coordinates: 29°40′S 17°53′E / 29.667°S 17.883°E / -29.667; 17.883Coordinates: 29°40′S 17°53′E / 29.667°S 17.883°E / -29.667; 17.883
Country South Africa
Province Northern Cape
District Namakwa
Municipality Nama Khoi
Established 1862
Area[1]
 • Total 37.56 km2 (14.50 sq mi)
Elevation 950 m (3,120 ft)
Population (2011)[1]
 • Total 12,790
 • Density 340/km2 (880/sq mi)
Racial makeup (2011)[1]
 • Black African 4.1%
 • Coloured 79.9%
 • Indian/Asian 0.5%
 • White 14.7%
 • Other 0.7%
First languages (2011)[1]
 • Afrikaans 95.1%
 • English 1.7%
 • Other 3.2%
Postal code (street) 8240
PO box 8240
Area code 027

Springbok is the largest town in the Namaqualand area in the Northern Cape province of South Africa. As of 2001 it had a population of 10,294. Springbok is located on the N7 national road which connects the Cape with Namibia, and at the western end of the N14, which connects it with Upington and Pretoria. It is the main town of the Nama Khoi Local Municipality, which also includes a number of surrounding towns such as Okiep and Nababeep.

The town lies at an altitude of 3300 feet (1000 m) in a narrow valley between the high granite domes of the Klein Koperberge (Small Copper Mountains). This name gives away the reason for the early settlement which gradually turned into a major commercial and administrative centre for copper mining operations in the region. Even though mining activities have dwindled, the town remains an important administrative capital in the region and due to its location a favourite stopover for tourists on their way to Namibia. Today the main income is generated from tourism, mining activities, commerce and farming.

The streets lead off from a central little koppie (hill) which now shows off Namaqualand’s strange flora, such as the almost leafless Quiver tree whose branches were used by Bushmen to hold their arrows. This area is famed for the incredible transformation which occurs every spring, when the near-lifeless scrubland explodes into colour from thousands of flowers hidden in the dry dusty earth, brought to life by winter rains. One of the best places to view this phenomenon is at the Goegap Nature Reserve, a short distance south-east of the town. Apart from its spring flowers and various large antelope species, the reserve is also known for its collection of rare drought resistant succulents.

History[edit]

The old Dutch Reformed Church in Springbok, situated in the heart of the town.

The town was founded on the farm Melkboschkuil when the farm was purchased from Kowie Cloete for £750 (£573,000[2] or ZAR6,705,520[3] in 2010) in 1852 so as to establish a copper mine. In 1862 the town of Springbokfontein was laid out. The -fontein (fountain) was dropped in later years.[4]

The "Klipkoppie" was used during the Second Boer War as a fort by the Boers under General Manie Maritz as it provided an excellent vantage point across the valley. Remains of stone walls inside the koppie can still be seen today. Next to the "Klipkoppie" and the Springbok Cafe is the beautiful Klipkerk (Stone Church) which was built in 1921.

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Main Place Springbok". Census 2011. 
  2. ^ Measuring Worth, Relative Value of a UK Pound Amount - average earnings, retrieved on the 02/07/2010
  3. ^ XE.com, Universal Currency Converter, retrieved on the 02/07/2010
  4. ^ Namaqualand municipal tourist information, History of Springbok