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 ReserveHotazel Rd. The bird sanctuary has a wetland area with plenty of grass, reeds and trees. There are about 115 different species of birds mainly from the duck, ibis and heron families. The 2 000 hectare Nature Reserve is situated on the northwest side of Kuruman. A wide variety of indigenous game can be viewed including giraffe, eland, gemsbok, blue wildebeest, waterbuck, kudu, red hartebeest, zebra, sable antelope, impala, blesbok, springbok, ostrich, duiker, steenbok, black-backed jackal and caracal (lynx). The camel-thorn, wild sage and umbrella-thorn are the main tree species in the Reserve.
Black Rock Sport and Recreational Club
Tennis, bowls, squash, golf and swimming. Tel 053 751 5555.
Eye, TheMain Str. It is the largest natural fountain in the Southern Hemisphere. Stocked with goldfish, carp, barbel and blue kurper, The Eye has full café, curio and ablution facilities. Tel 053 712 1095.
HuntingKuruman is home to the Kalahari Hunters’ Association, tel 053 712 2711. The abundant game bred and culled in the area is fast turning it into a hunter’s Mecca.
Kalahari Manganese Field Mineral CollectionPrivate gemstone collection. Tel 053 712 2145.
Kalahari Raptor CentreOn 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 ClubOffers golf (9 holes), squash course, bowls, tennis, snooker. Tel 053 712 1242.
Manganese Mineral Collection
Assmang Geology Office. Tel 053 751 5555.
Tour the spectacular tunnels and rock formations of Black Rock’s worked-out manganese mine. Restricted to 20 people booked a week in advance. Tel 053 751 5555.