Port Nolloth is a town and small domestic seaport in the Namaqualand region on the northwestern coast of South Africa in the Northern Cape Province. Port Nolloth was first known as Aukwatowa, a Nama word which means “where the water took the old man along”. It was later also known as Robbe Bay due to its large seal colony. The town was finally named after Captain Nolloth who established the harbour for small vessels along the Atlantic Ocean and commander of the HMS Frolic, who surveyed the coast in 1854.

Port Nolloth originated in 1854 as a small vessel harbour with an adjacent railway station for the steam locomotive Clara which transported copper ore from mining towns inland. The copper ore was then exported to countries abroad. The harbour was later however declared unsuitable for exporting purposes due to a much too narrow and shallow entrance. Port Nolloth became a fishermen’s village after a fish factory opened here in 1960. With a successful deep-sea diamond industry, the town also became a haven for professional diamond-diving – as such, the town abounds with rags-to-riches stories told by the local inhabitants.

Port Nolloth falls under the Richtersveld Local Municipality which is a Category B municipality in the Namakwa District of the Northern Cape Province. It is the smallest municipality of six in the district, making up only 6% of its geographical area. The municipality is named after Reverend W Richter, a Dutch missionary of the 20th century who opened a mission station in Koeboes. The Richtersveld is a unique landscape surrounded by a variety of contrasts. It is a conservation area. Rainfall is minimal and water is a scarce commodity, yet the vast plains, which are considered a special place by some, are still a very beautiful region with unique characteristics that attract thousands of tourists. We can genuinely say that the Richtersveld is a Conservation area. Not only is the geographical area unique, but also its people, which is why this area must manage its resources in an optimal manner.
In Port Nolloth there is the ocean, at Alexander Bay there is the Orange River, and at Lekkersing and Eksteensfontein there is underground water that is a little brackish.

Cities/Towns close to Port Nolloth are Alexander Bay, Eksteensfontein, Kuboes, Richtersveld and Sanddrift.

The areas economic sectors are Mining, agriculture, fishing and tourism.

Port Nolloth is a Coastal town, on the Atlantic Ocean, 80 km’s south of the mouth of the Orange River. It was founded in 1855 and attained municipal status in 1857. Named after Captain Nolloth, commander of the HMS Frolic, who surveyed the coast in 1854.

Port Nolloth is the CBD of the Richtersveld area and is also the holidaymaker’s destination of choice along the West Coast. The town has grocery stores, accommodation establishments, restaurants, ATMs, a petrol station and a museum. Tourists can enjoy the sun, sand and sea at McDougall’s Bay (which has pilot blue-flag status), or experience Nama culture on day trips to the nearby villages of Kuboes, Eksteenfontein, Lekkersing and Sanddrift. The Richtersveld National Park is also close to Port Nolloth.

Tourist Information

Richtersveld Tourism: tel: (027) 851 1111
Email: info@richtersveld.gov.za
Bedrock Lodge (AA)
Tel: (027) 851 8865
Country Club Self-Catering Accommodation & Conference Facility (AA)
Tel: (027) 851 7433
Gamii Goas Guest House (AA)
Tel: 073 677 4014
Port Indigo Guest House (AA, )
Tel: (027) 851 8012
Scotia Inn Hotel (AA)
Tel: (027) 851 8353
Tour Operators
Aukwatowa Tours: cell: 073 651 8833 Richtersveld Tours: cell: 082 335 1399
McDougall’s Bay: A beach with blue flag status
Bird Park
Port Nolloth Museum
Port Nolloth Harbour and Jetty
Sizamile Township: Offers a colourful township cultural experience; local cuisine and accommodation are also available.
Bird Island: The island can be reached by a canoe and is located in close proximity to McDougall’s Bay beach
The three fountains legacy where the Khoisan people used to live Living from shell fish and making beads from ostrich eggshells.

Key Statistics 2011

Total population 6,092
Young (0-14) 24,1%
Working Age (15-64) 69,4%
Elderly (65+) 6,5%
Dependency ratio 44,1
Sex ratio 102,1
Population density 201 persons/km2
No schooling aged 20+ 2,1%
Higher education aged 20+ 8%
Matric aged 20+ 22,1%
Number of households 1,831
Average household size 3,1
Female headed households 43,8%
Formal dwellings 97,9%
Housing owned/paying off 62,1%
Flush toilet connected to sewerage 87,2%
Weekly refuse removal 93,8%
Piped water inside dwelling 78,2%
Electricity for lighting 98%


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