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Onseepkans is located in Northern Cape
Onseepkans is located in South Africa
Onseepkans is located in Africa
 Onseepkans shown within Northern Cape
Coordinates: 28°47′56″S 19°19′00″E / 28.7990°S 19.3167°E / -28.7990; 19.3167Coordinates: 28°47′56″S 19°19′00″E / 28.7990°S 19.3167°E / -28.7990; 19.3167
Country South Africa
Province Northern Cape
District Namakwa
Municipality Khâi-Ma
 • Total 27.65 km2 (10.68 sq mi)
Population (2011)[1]
 • Total 2,090
 • Density 76/km2 (200/sq mi)
Racial makeup (2011)[1]
 • Black African 18.9%
 • Coloured 78.1%
 • Indian/Asian 0.4%
 • White 1.5%
 • Other 1.0%
First languages (2011)[1]
 • Afrikaans 84.1%
 • Tswana 12.9%
 • Other 3.0%
PO box 8892
Area code 054

Onseepkans is a small settlement on the banks of the Orange River in Northern Cape Province, South Africa. It is a border post with Namibia for traffic between Pofadder in South Africa and Keetmanshoop in Namibia. The name either originated from a combination of three Nama words: ‘tconsiep’ (an elbow projecting into the river), ‘nias’ (a rocky surface), and ‘tcaans’ (thorntrees), or a derivative of a nama word that means 'watering place for cattle'.[2]

In 1909, a prospector by the name of Edwells settled in the area. The land was eventually bought from him in 1916 by a group of farmers, who saw potential for irrigation in the area.[2] Ecotourism has been growing ever since the establishment of a riverside campsite and various farm cottages. It is also the entry point for visits to the Ritchie Falls, the second highest waterfall on the Orange River, after the Augrabies Falls. The Ritchie Falls are in a pristine wilderness area, only accessible after a two-day hike or by rafting down from Onseepkans. Guided hikes and rafting trips are available. The falls (both Augrabies and Ritchie) are threatened by the development of a hydro power station proposed by a consortium between Hydro Tasmania and Hydro South Africa, despite the fact that only 10% of the Orange River is considered to be pristine wilderness.

There are small communities on both sides of the Orange River in one of the most remote and beautiful parts of the country. The Quiver tree (Kokerboom in Afrikaans) forest between Pofadder and Onseepkans is stunning and is the largest forest of its type in the Southern Hemisphere.[2]

The area is very hot. Summer temperatures can exceed 50 C while in the middle of winter temperatures in the high 30's can still be experienced. To reach the settlement one has to travel 49 kilometers along the R358 from Pofadder.


  1. ^ a b c d "Main Place Onseepkans". Census 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c "Onseepkans". experiencenortherncape.com. Retrieved 2015-12-24.