On the Ghaap Plateau 1 131m above sea level, Kuruman is the principal town on the Kalahari section of the Namakwari Route. The origin of the town’s name is uncertain but it is generally accepted as being a variation of the name of an 18th-century San leader, Kudumane. Known as the ‘Oasis of the Kalahari’, Kuruman is blessed with a permanent and abundant source of water.
More densely vegetated than most oases, its water flows from Gasegonyana, commonly called The Eye. A spring delivering 20 million litres of water daily to 71 000 inhabitants, the water flows from solution cavities in the dolomitic Ghaap Plateau and cracks in the mammoth doleritic dykes and sills that thrust their way into prominence from the earth’s core some 190 million years ago. The spring nurtures an endangered species of cichlid fish.
Flowing from the spring and the town’s missionary past is its other name, ‘the fountain of Christianity’ in Africa. Scottish missionary Robert Moffat, the first person to translate the Bible into seTswana, lived here for 50 years (1820-1870) and built the famous Moffat Church, completed in 1838. The Moffats baptised their first converts in 1829, taught them to read, and, using their own printing press, printed the first Bible in Africa. Regular services are still conducted in ‘their’ church.The town’s thriving economy owes its health to the community’s mining, stockfarming and agricultural activities. Manganese, iron ore, tiger’s eye and the richest blue asbestos deposits in the world are found and mined here.
Bird Sanctuary and Nature Reserve
Black Rock Sport and Recreational Club
Kalahari Manganese Field Mineral Collection
Private gemstone collection. Tel 053 712 2145.
Kalahari Raptor Centre
On the road to Upington. The sanctuary treats and rehabilitates injured raptors. Accommodation also available. By appointment only. Tel 053 712 3576, web www.raptor.co.za
Kuruman Country Club
Manganese Mineral Collection
Moffat Mission Station
Moffat Lane. Dr Robert Moffat and his wife, Mary, arrived in Kuruman from Scotland in 1820. The Moffat Church was completed in 1838 and, for years, was the largest building in the Northern Cape. The marriage of their daughter, Mary, to explorer David Livingstone took place in the church, declared a national monument in 1939. Tel 053 712 1352/2645.
Tswalu Kalahari Reserve
Wonderwerk Cave and Rock Paintings
43km south down Daniëlskuil road on the farm Wonderwerk. Archaeological excavations of the 140m long cave suggest datings of more than a million years old to the early twentieth century when members of the Bosman family made it their home. Spanning the stone age, finds include Acheulean handaxes and cleavers, evidence of controlled use of fire, grass bedding, animal remains including extinct species, engraved stones, and a wide range of Later Stone Age artefacts. Rock paintings – from which graffiti was recently removed – were made with red and yellow ochres obtained in the vicinity. Finds are housed at Kimberley’s McGregor Museum. The site is being declared a Grade 1 National Heritage site. Accommodation, by appointment, is also available. Tel 082 832 7226.