Colesberg is a small Karoo town that lies along the N1, between Cape Town and Johannesburg. Being situated amidst tall koppies (including the famous Coleskop) and sheep farms that stretch for miles through the rugged South African terrain, Colesberg truly is a haven of a very special kind of beauty.
When mission stations were built in this area in the 19th century, they soon attracted needy Khoisan people. Farmers got nervous about the stability of their property and insisted that the area be declared their property. So, in 1830, the town was named Colesberg after Sir Lowry Cole.
This history permeates the town’s atmosphere and its people. Many of the buildings, especially the churches, showcase the architecture and heritage of these past times, giving visitors a first-hand perspective of the politics and goings on of more than a century ago.
Colesberg is famous for its sheep farming, breeding some of South Africa’s top merino sheep. These farms are beautiful to see as they cover more than 500 000 hectares of the landscape. In addition, the stud farms of Colesberg are renowned for their breeding of top-quality horses, used for racing.
Summers in Colesberg can become extremely hot, sometimes reaching daily highs of 35 degrees Celsius. The winters are cool and mild, with noonday highs of about 20 degrees. Winter nights get very cold, sometimes dropping below 0. Summer is the wet season.
This area is full of hills and caves. Exploring these will yield some awesome archaeological finds. Their beauty is undeniable and the scenery breath-taking. Hike, walk or mountain bike these koppies for a truly memorable Colesberg experience.
Here are some of Colesberg’s main attractions and the activities recommended for tourists:
- There are a number of walking and hiking trails through the surrounding hills and along the many farms. Take advantage of the stunning scenery and temperate weather conditions to see some of the fauna and flora of the Karoo
- Many of the farms conduct tours, particularly those farms that have historical value. Book a tour and see how these farms have evolved over the generations and how they work today
- Visit one of South Africa’s last working horse mills
- See the Schutz and De Jager building in Church Street. This is the oldest building in Colesberg
- There are numerous bird species in and around Colesberg, so keen bird-watchers are urged to bring along their binoculars
- The Gariep Dam is enormous and just plain beautiful. Picnic alongside it or get some adrenalin flowing with a variety of watersports
- There are a number of sheep festivals held in Colesberg every year. These are fabulous events for tourists to attend, as they reflect the culture and commerce of this little Karoo town
- Go on a walking tour of the town. An experienced guide will showcase the magnificent architecture and explain the history as you go along
- The Colesberg / Kemper Museum boasts fascinating information on the history, architecture and archaeological value of Colesberg. It also tells the complex story of the original Boere and their interaction with the indigenous African tribes that once inhabited this and surrounding areas
Useful Colesberg Links: