On 27 December 1868, special magistrate Maximillian Jackson, with a police contingent, was sent to act as a bulwark against the Koranna, whose anti-colonial resistance had erupted into open conflict. Jackson arrived in Kenhardt and set up camp under a giant camelthorn tree.
For a long time the most remote settlement in the northwestern Cape, the town developed from under this tree, becoming a municipality in 1909. The Hartbees River, with its many sweet thorn trees, provides a green belt irrigated by the Rooiberg Dam.
The town is at the heart of the Dorper sheep-farming area. There is a Quiver Tree (Kokerboom) forest within easy driving distance. Tours will take you to pans and outlying farms where you can view San artwork and enjoy farm hospitality. 4x4 routes are available near Kenhardt.