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Northern Cape

Calvinia – 4×4 Routes, Bird Watching and Historical Sites

Located at the foot of the Hantam Mountains in the Groot Karoo region of South Africa’s Northern Cape Province, the friendly town of Calvinia has much to offer travelers who enjoy exploring off the beaten track treasures. Travel the scenic 4x4 routes of Calvinia, some of which take visitors to areas where historic Anglo-Boer conflicts took place, with other routes winding along the escarpment opening up incredible views of the surroundings or even meandering along a dry riverbed. These views are even more beautiful in the months of August to October when they come alive with a kaleidoscope of colorful flowers.

Southeast of Calvinia, the Roggeveld Mountains stretch eastward to Sutherland where the South African Astronomical Observatory is stationed. Calvinia enjoys the same clear night skies that attracted astronomers to the area, offering a sight that city-dwellers seldom see. The Akkerendam Nature Reserve, which is home to around 65 bird species, offers walks to suit both the fit and the not-so-fit so that everyone can enjoy the magnificent scenery.

A visit to the Calvinia Museum, housed in a former Synagogue, chronicles the history of the area, as well as detailing its geographical and natural assets. Other superb examples of architecture in Calvinia include the Dutch Reformed Church (neo gothic style), Hantam House (Cape Dutch style) and the Dorphuis (Victorian style). Certainly, a visit to Calvinia, the town named in honor of religious reformer John Calvin, promises to be an interesting experience.