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Things to Do in Colesberg

10 Sep 2013

Colesberg is a small town in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa, home to fewer than 20 000 people. It is not very well known but it has gained acclaim amongst stud farmers (who know that some of the best racehorses in South Africa come from this region) and those in the wool industry for the outstanding wools it produces, particularly of the Merino variety. This wool is used countrywide, worldwide in fact, for the production of stunning clothing, accessories and textiles. This mere fact makes Colesberg a significant contributor to the local economy and the tourism industry.

Things to Do in Colesberg
Photograph: Lovely “Karoo Houses” seen on a walking tour of Colesberg

Having been founded in 1830, Colesberg enjoys an interesting history. This includes many of the battles of the Anglo-Boer War, which saw the deaths of many men, women and children. Part of this history has been retained in the architecture, museums and battlefields of the area. During your time in Colesberg, the following attractions are most rewarding:

The Anglo-Boer War Battlefields
The English settlers and the Boers (farmers that originally came from Holland and France, mainly) fought many a gallant battle in the region of Colesberg. In addition to the actual land on which these battles took place, some area still have remnants of the original concentration camps in which prisoners of war that included women and children were imprisoned and, often, mistreated. Visiting these battlefields promises a fascinating insight into these tragic times but also into the shaping of the country that South Africa is today. Some of the local battlefields include Grenadier Guard Rock, the Suffolk ‘Koppie’ and Plato Camp.

The Colesberg-Kemper Museum
For a peek into yesteryear with a liberal dose of contemporary culture, the Colesberg-Kemper Museum has grown over time, accumulating priceless keepsakes and memories. The museum is, as a result, very special for the locals, who recognise many of the exhibits from when they were still in use. These pieces represent the everyday way of life of generations past, telling the unique story of this little Northern Cape town. The actual building is a great example of traditional Karoo architecture as well, having been built in 1861 as the local bank.

The Doornkloof Nature Reserve
Perched on the scenic banks of the Vanderkloof Dam, this reserve is home to a range of large antelope species, including the mighty kudu and the impressive eland. Other animals comprise plenty of bird species, as well as smaller predators, like the bat-eared fox and hyena. The prettiness and abundance of this area lends itself to those who love the outdoors. There are a number of trails (hiking, walking and cycling) to explore, complete with gorgeous views and fresh air.

A Walking Tour of Colesberg
The local tourism office is happy to arrange walking tours through the town so that visitors can get the most out of the historical value and natural loveliness of Colesberg. It includes a tour of the cemetery, the churches, the original homes, the historical horse-driven mill pub, and meeting some of the town locals to experience the characteristic Karoo hospitality. The Colesberg-Kemper Museum is also part of this fantastic experience.

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