Make a Detour Past Loeriesfontein
The small town of Loeriesfontein in the Northern Cape is situated in a huge natural basin, surrounded by mountains, where Namaqualand, Bushmanland and the Hantam region meet. Renowned for its stunning display of spring wildflowers, this lovely South African town has a number of places of interests that attract visitors from far and wide.
During the months of August and September, sometimes lasting into October, spring wildflowers are seen everywhere – in the fields surrounding the town stretching into Namaqualand, on the local golf course and throughout the town itself. The spring flowers are followed by a display of lilac, pink and red Mesembrianthemum, more commonly known as “vygies”. These hardy low-growing succulent-type plants weave a carpet of color in the fields.
Loeriesfontein hosts an agricultural show in October each year, with the main focus being on sheep and saddle horses. This gathering of the agricultural community, which has been running for forty years, is a highlight on the local social calendar and recognized on both provincial and national levels.
The area around Loeriesfontein is dotted with superb examples of the unusual Aloe dichotoma, more commonly known as kokerbome or quiver trees – the latter because bushman hunters use the bark and branches to make quivers for their arrows. These hardy, indigenous plants grow up to four meters in height and store large amounts of water in their trunks, enabling them to resist drought indefinitely.
An interesting collection of 27 working water-pumping windmills, or windpumps, can be viewed at the Windmill Museum in Loeriesfontein. Started by the late Dr. Walton of Cape Town, the Windmill Museum is now cared for by the Fred Turner Museum situated alongside. The Fred Turner Museum, which is housed in an old school building, has exhibits of more than 1,000 items focusing on the culture and way of life of the pioneering farmers of Namaqualand, including a trek wagon, horse mill and fully equipped tent.
The town of Loeriesfontein grew around a general store which was established in 1894 by Frederick Turner (originally from Norwich in England) to provide supplies to the local farming community. The store, which is now run is still a thriving business today and is known as Turner & Haupt Spar, it is run by Frederick Turner’s grandson, Victor Haupt.
If you enjoy exploring interesting places in South Africa that are off the beaten track, a trip to Loeriesfontein may be just what you are looking for.