Things to do in Carnarvon and surroundings

Tourism page 1

 

 

Tourism Page 1

Carnarvon Museum

Koeelkop

Hiking trails

Tourism Page 2

Nature reserve

San rock engravings

Karoo Aray Telescope

  The Carnarvon Museum originally served as a community hall for the Dutch Reformed Church.   The hall was built in 1907 and when the new community centre was inaugurated in 1973, the hall was donated to the Municipality to be used as a museum.

  Presently the museum hosts a large variety of antiques that were either donated or are on loan from community members.

  One of the most valued articles on show is the old hearse that belonged to the Dutch Reformed Church and was donated to the museum when it was not longer in use.   The hearse was in the care of Frans Mans who was also the driver.   The wooden canopy of the hearse was built by a local Carnarvon carpenter, Mr Mocke.

  The corbelled house outside the museum is an excellent example of the many corbelled houses that can be found on farms in the district of Carnarvon.  This specific corbelled house was removed from the farm Biesiespputs near Carnarvon on the road to Loxton.   A local man of all trades, Roy Riley removed it section by section and rebuilt it  on its present site.   Mr Riley also rebuilt the English fort on KoeŽkop on the exact spot where it stood during the Anglo-Boer war.   As a kid he used to play in the ruins of the old fort and never knew that he would one day be asked to rebuild it.

In the gallery below a small sample of the beautiful and valuable articles on show, can be seen.

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Wooden ceiling in the main hall of the museum

 

The name KoeŽlkop was derived from the bullets (Afrikaans = koeŽl) of the English soldiers, from the period of the Anglo-Boer war, that were often found lying around on top of this prominent hill, that overlooks Carnarvon
  One can assume that KoeŽlkop would have been an important lookout point for the guards during the war, but today it serves as a site for the water reservoir that supplies water to Carnarvon.   Lately the remnants of an old English fort was rebuilt on top of KoeŽlkop.   

  From the top of KoeŽlkop one has a birds eye view of Carnarvon to the north-east, the abattoir in the East, the Skietfontein settlement in the west and the airfield to the south-west.   It is a wonderful experience to watch the sun go down from this high elevation, see the countryside changing in colour and the shadows moving in, with a Vaal Korhaan protesting loudly in the distance.

  On the way from the entrance gate to KoeŽlkop, it is worthwhile to take a detour to the left, stop at the memorial of the Ossewatrek and experience another glimpse into the history of South Africa.

View from KoeŽlkop in late afternoon

 

Monument in commemoration of the Ossewatrek in 1938         English fort from the Anglo-Boer war on top of KoeŽlkop

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Pick a hiking trail

(See the "contact us" page to book a guided tour)

  Skietfontein   Historic Houses

The Skietfontein hiking trail starts at the antique shop of Dieter German in Church Street and then follows Van Riebeeck Street past the "Skema".   It follows the winding footpath that workers and pupils from Skietfontein use to and from Carnarvon, all along the bank of the river.   The length of the route is about 8 km in total.  

On the way to Skietfontein, hikers can experience typical Karoo veld with a variety of interesting shrubs (Karoo bossies) with beautiful views of the Karoo hills and windmills as well as water fowl in the pools of water in the river. 

When walking this route  the first time, I enjoyed the interaction with Skietfontein residents coming in the opposite direction on their way to Carnarvon.

At Skietfontein remnants of the ancient stone houses of early inhabitants can still be found, as well as a few typical Karoo houses and very friendly people.    At the enclave where the Hendriks family live, right at the far end of the settlement, we stopped at the house of Louisa Hendriks and had a hard time persuading her to let us go without a cup of coffee.   We wanted very much to stay as she is one of the older inhabitants and has wonderful stories to tell, but we had an appointment and had to be back in Carnarvon in time.

On our way back through the river and hiking on another route on the opposite side of the river, we met Ben Maritz, also on his way to Carnarvon.   Ben was carrying a plastic bag which I assumed was his lunch pack, but as the conversation continued Ben told us that it was full of goat dung (bokmis).   A family member in Carnarvon had the small pox (smallpox) and they use the bokmis as medicine as it works better than the doctors medicine.

On our way back we followed a route past one of the permanent springs in the area, although at this stage the spring was very weak and only a small amount of water was seeping out between the rocks.   We went past Dellville, the small farm of the Ahmed family, and then followed the road past the graveyard, up Mark Street, over Unieplein, past the historic U.R. Church (former Rhenish Mission Church) and then reached our starting point in Church Street.   We did not have time to enjoy the route as much as we wanted and at our relatively fast pace it took us an hour and thirty minutes from start to finish.

Please enjoy a few photos that we took on our way.   Click photos to enlarge  

Pools of water in the river

Small filly wary of the stangers

On the throne

Brightly painted Karoo style house at Skietfontein

Karoo style house at Skietfontein

Some of the houses at Skietfonein

Small fountain near Skietfontein

 

 

The Historic Houses trail

Many of the original houses of the settlement at De Bult, as well as many of the Victorian houses and stylish mansions, that were built before and just after nineteen hundred, still exist today.

The hiking trail starts at Dieter German's antique shop in Church Street, as there are nice shade trees to park under on the opposite side of the road.   We start with a visit to the antique shop.   The antique shop is an example of a Karoo type house and the cute cottage next door, in which Dieter and his wife  Ebeth live, is a saddled roof house with Carnarvon type frieze.

From Church Street we move to the Uniting Reformed Church on Unieplein and from there to the parsonage of the U.R.Church.  As we hike down Mark Street we see many of the original old houses on either side.   As we turn right towards the early settlement of De Bult, there is a monument in the middle of the road, in commemoration of the soldiers from the coloured community that died in skirmishes between 1914 and 1945.   On our left the original houses of the first settlement in Carnarvon , De Bult, are still in use.  

After viewing the original Karoo houses we go up with Sterrenberg Street, where more examples of the old houses can be seen.   Where Sterrenberg Street meets Van Riebeeck Street, a quaint little church provides a nice focus point for the street.    From Van Riebeeck Street the route goes up  Nuwe Street and then left into Hanou Street, past the public library, post office, municipal buildings, until it reaches the corbelled house and the museum.   We spend some time at the museum and keep on with Van Riebeeck to view more splendid historic houses.   The route then goes North East with Rivier Street, where more beautiful houses can be seen.   Also in Rivier Street can be found the old mansion in which former writer and school teacher D.F.Malherbe used to live as well as another beautiful mansion in which the former writer, teacher and mayor of Carnarvon, A.G.Visser lived. 

From Rivier Street we move to Daniel Street, where the parsonage of the Duch Reformed Church, built in 1912, is located as well as some other excellent examples of historic houses.    Also in Daniel Street is the main entrance of the Lord Carnarvon guest house, located in two old historic houses, that each have an interesting history of their own.   Your tour guide will let you in on the history and if you are lucky to catch the very busy owner, Pieter Hoffman, he  will give you a firsthand version of the history of these two beautifully restored buildings.

The historic houses route ends in Church Street, where your vehicles will be standing safely in the shade of the trees.

In the gallery below, please view a sample of the buildings and monuments that you will see on the route.

Antique shop in Church street

Dieter's beautifully restored home

Uniting Reformed Church built in 1858

Parsonage of the Uniting Reformed Church, built in the 1850's

De Bult - original settlement

Original setlement at De Bult

De Bult

De Bult

De Bult

De Bult

De Bult

De Bult

De Bult

De Bult

De Bult

Sterrenberg street

Sterrenberg street

Sterrenberg street

Sterrenberg street

Sterrenberg street

Friendly ladies in Sterrenberg street

Chruch building at the top of Sterrenberg street

Old mansion presently owned by Hentie Maritz

Corbelled house - see photos of inside on museum page

Museum - see more photos on museum page

Old Anglican Church in Hanau street

Beautifull historic building of the Collins family

War memorial erected after second wold war

Inscription on back of war memorial (1939-1946)

Previous residence of the well known A.G.Visser

Photo of A.G.Visser (second from left) among the photos of previous mayors of Carnarvon

Previous residence of the well known writer D.F. Malherbe

Dutch Reformed Chuch building in Daniel street

Beautifully restored building of the Lord Carnarvon Guesthouse with the rose garden of the church in front.

Parsonage of the Duch Reformed Church built in 1912

 

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