Springbok at a glance
Springbok, originally known as Springbokfontein and established in 1862, is the largest town in the Namaqualand area of the Northern Cape. Springbok gets its name from the large amount of springbok antelope that live in the narrow valley between the high granite domes of the Klein Koperberge. The town is located on the N7 national road which connects the Cape with Namibia and it is the last major town in South Africa before the border into Namibia. At the eastern end of the town is the N14 national road which connects it with Upington and Pretoria.
Springbok is world renowned as the Namaqualand Flower Capital and is formed around a central koppie or hill, known by locals as ‘klipkoppie’ that was used by the Boers as a fort due to its excellent vantage point across the valley during the Boer War. Klipkoppie is home to a stone church that was built in 1921 and the remains of the walls are part of the original fort.
Copper was first discovered in the area by Governor Simon van der Stel in 1685 and the Blue Mine is believed to mark the origins of commercial mining in South Africa. While the town grew rapidly, it slowed down when rich copper deposits were discovered in Okiep located a mere 10 kilometers from Springbok, but as the main source of water, Springbok became the communications, administrative, educational, and commercial center for different mines in this region. Even though the mining has gradually decreased in the area, the town remains an important administrative capital due to its location and as a popular stopover for tourists on their way to Namibia. Today the main income is generated from tourism, mining activities, commerce, and farming.
The town’s mining history, flora and connection to the Second Boer War makes it a rich hub of natural and cultural heritage. There is enough reason to visit Springbok as there are a lot of attractions in the area, including the Skilpad Wildflower Nature Reserve, particularly in August and September when the flowers are in full bloom, the Augrabies Waterfall, the Goegap Nature Reserve, the Blue Mine – Springbok’s first mine, and the war graves from the Anglo Boer War.
According to a census done 2011, the small town which covers an area of almost 38 square kilometers had a population of 12790 people. The native coloured people of the Norhtern Cape make up 80% of its residents with Afrikaans being the most widely spoken language.
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