Port Nolloth, Northern Cape

port nolloth

One of the gloriously tatty old diamond boots of Port Nolloth.

“There are more diamonds than raindrops in Namaqualand” is the old saying of the region. Port Nolloth built its fame on the once-fabulous store of diamonds that came out of the Orange River and settled in the off-shore shelf formation.

Nearly everyone who lives in Port Nolloth is involved in diamonds or tourism.

You feel it as you drive in on the R382 road: it’s a frontier village, stuck at the end of a scrub desert, often shrouded in mist and full of legend.

The diamond divers who take on the sea have diminished in numbers over the years, but they still go out on calm days and work the alluvial undersea beds along the coast of Namaqualand.

Some toil away all their lives for a pittance, while others strike it rich and disappear for brighter lights – but only for a while. The charm of living in Port Nolloth that always brings one back.

There is also something strangely magical about this little port, which was once famous for shipping out the copper of Namaqualand. As you go to sleep in your rented cottage near the seafront, you will hear the regular muted clanging of the bell buoys in the channel.

For overlanders, Port Nolloth is a good launchpad for trips into the Richtersveld to view nature or visit local communities. Some even begin their odysseys into Namibia from this area, crossing into that country from the Noordoewer side.

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