Situated where the R355 and R27 intersect you will find Calvinia. Calvinia is a town in the Northern Cape province of South Africa named after the French religious reformer Jean Calvin. The town falls under the Hantam Local Municipality which forms part of the Namakwa District Municipality. Included in this minicipalty are Brandvlei, Loeriesfontein, Middelpos, Nieuwoudtville, Onderste Doorns. Numerous government departments are also situated in Calvinia.

The town is just south of the Hantam mountains on the banks of the Oorlogskloof (meaning “War Ravine”) River. Travelers often use the town as a overnight stop along the R27 route.

Akkerendam Nature Reserve, situated on the semi-arid slopes of the Hantamsberg overlooking Calvinia. Akkerendam Nature Reserve is two kilometers outside of Calvinia, this nature reserve protects the fragile fauna of the Hantam Karoo region, which comprises of succulent Karoo scrub, Mountain Renosterveld and a wide range of bulbous flora. This includes 10 floral species, which are unique to the Hantamsberg (Hantam mountain).

In spring the entire reserve is a riot of colour as the spring flowers erupt in a magnificent display of beauty. Bird watchers can enjoy the Karoo lark, African Marsh Warbler, Namaqua Warbler, Ludwig’s and the Greater Kestrel.

There are two hiking trails in the reserve that provide spectacular views from the Hantam Mountains.

Farming is the main contributor to the economy, namely sheep, wool, lucerne as well as rooibos tea. Numerous government departments are also situated in Calvinia.

Calvinia

Calvinia was founded in 1851. The town is situated on the estuary of the Oorlogskloof River and lies at the foot of the dolerite-topped Hantam Mountain range. Hantam is a Khoi word which means “where the red bulbs grow”. Calvinia is the CBD of the Hantam region, and is situated 418 km north of Cape Town on a plateau significantly high above sea level.

Calvinia is one of the largest South African producers of wool; commercial sheep farming is an active economic sector in the Hantam region. The well-known brand of Karoo Lamb is one of the Hantam’s export products. Calvinia has grocery stores, commercial banks with ATMs, restaurants, accommodation establishments, petrol stations, nurseries, a hospital, doctors’ practices, optometrists, dentists and a public swimming pool. The town is also a hub for tourists during the flower season. For tourist related information, contact the office at Namakwa Tourism.
Tourist Information
Namakwa Tourism
tel: (027) 341 8131
email: tourismcalv@namakwa-dm.gov.za;
web: www.experiencenortherncape.com

Attractions

  • Akkerendam Nature Reserve: Consists of a hiking trail with picturesque views of the Hantam Mountain range and the surrounding area. The birdlife at the reserve includes approximately 65 species.
  • Boeta Gammie: Known as “The Singing Speed Cop”, Boeta Gammie is a local singer-songwriter. For bookings, call cell: 078 460 2450
  • Dutch Reformed Church: A Neo-Gothic building
  • Hantam House: The Hantam House was built by field cornet A. van Wyk in 1854. The house is built in Cape Dutch-style, and today operates as a guest house and restaurant.
  • Klipwerf orkes: A well-known South African traditional boeremusiek-band. The band is one of the Hantam’s most popular attractions.
  • Abraham Esua Grave and Obelisk: An obelisk was recently erected at the hospital in Calvinia in remembrance of Abraham Esau.
  • Tankwa National Park: The Park is known for its fauna, flora and vast spaces, and is a must-see during the spring. Tel: (027) 341 1927; fax: 027 341 2814; email: tankwa@sanparks.org.za; web: www.sanparks.org
  • 4×4 Routes: Explore routes along the Oorlogskloof River estuary where both Anglo-Boer War and San history are recorded.
  • The large Red Post Box: Envelopes that are posted here are stamped with the PROTEA stamp.
  • Hantam Museum: The old synagogue (built in 1920) now hosts the museum, which
    exhibits the historical and cultural lifestyles of the people of the area.

 

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