Calvinia, Northern Cape

Central Calvinia – all roads lead to Namaqualand.
In spring, the little town at the edge of Namaqualand covers itself with daisies. You play through clouds of flowers at the local golf course where, scant weeks before, you were making your shots on a strip of desert dirt.

The Calvinia Museum is the Imaginarium of the Upper Karoo. Exhibit #1 in the local world of weirdness is a four-legged ostrich chick, forever stuffed in an attitude of musing contemplation. Obviously wondering to itself why the hell it’s got four legs.

Drive down one of the back roads and you pass the bakery, festooned with priceless junk gathered from many old farms, townships and derelict shops. Stop and meet the owners, Dirk and Sonja van Rensburg. Stay over at their little self-cater and admire their enormous pig, Charlotte.

Or, for something a little more stately and literary, there’s the Hantam Huis complex of guest cottages, which even includes a special Book House for visiting writers. Have supper at the Hantam Huis and ask for something involving Karoo lamb.

And just when you think Calvinia cannot possibly be more intoxicating, you meet the local doctor’s llama herd. And then you meet the local doctor, Erwin Coetzee, who will tell you:

“When we first arrived here from up-country, the local people seemed reserved”, he said. “They call new arrivals here ‘rolbossies’ – tumbleweeds. After we’d been here for two years, someone asked me where I intended to go next. I said I wasn’t sure, but that I knew where my body would go – right up there to the town cemetery. After that, we seemed to be accepted as part of Calvinia.”

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5 thoughts on “Calvinia, Northern Cape

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