Derived from the Nama word ‘U-gieb’, meaning ‘the great, brackish spring’, Okiep was, until production ceased in 1918, the world’s richest copper mine. Okiep is the oldest mining town in South Africa where copper was first discovered and mined in 1855.
Eight kilometres north of Springbok, it echoes copper’s boom years. Nine-hundred defenders, mostly Cape Copper Company employees, built nine blockhouses and repulsed General Jan Smuts’s forces’ concerted efforts to take the town. Today, on a hillock, only the remnants of stone walls remain.
The remains of the Crows Nest Blockhouse on a hill north east of Okiep fell to the Boers and was occupied by them for most of the siege before being retaken. Fort Shelton saw the major part of the action during the siege and was manned by a 6 pounder gun. Graffiti, made by the Cape Town Highlanders and Cape Garrison Artillery, can be seen in the Okiep East Mine while casualties from the war were laid to rest in the Okiep graveyard.
A steam engine which is fully intact and the only remaining pump house of its sort in the Southern Hemisphere, were used from 1882 to pump water from the mine.
Between Okiep and Concordia. The main fortification of the Home Guard during the Siege of Okiep from 1 April to 23 May 1902.
Klondike and Magabreccia sites can be seen in the surrounding area.
Built by the Cape Copper Company as a ventilation shaft in 1880, now a national monument.