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Kalahari Region of the Northern Cape, South Africa

Kalahari Region

The regions of the Northern Cape

     Acknowledgements: Northern Cape Tourism Authority (NCTA)

The old saying, “looks can be deceiving" is very true of the Kalahari. It is an arid landscape of undulating red sand dunes, but looking closer and underground, the Kalahari is rich in iron, manganese and other precious ores. It is also rich in wildlife with 40 of South Africa’s 67 raptors, vultures and 7 of the 12 owl species roaming the Kalahari skies.

In Kuruman, visitors will find the Eye of Kuruman -- a spring that produces enough water from this very arid region to supply the town of Kuruman and surrounding farms with enough water to sustain them.

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Black Rock
Black Rock is located 77km (47 miles) northeast of Kuruman and is home to an underground Manganese mining venture where visitors have a chance to view a worked out mine.


The town municipality includes the town of Dingleton and lies 50km (31 mikes) west of Kuruman on the N14 highway.

The town’s inception is primarily due to Iscor’s iron ore mining. The mining of Iron Ore at Kathu’s Sishen mine is enormous as it produces 28.8 million tons of high quality ore annually. The mining activity has created one of the five largest open cast iron ore mines in the world.

Tours of the mine are allowed but these must be booked in advance.


This is the first town a traveler will reach in the Northern Cape on the N14 from Johannesburg, 520km (322 miles) away. Kuruman has been nicknamed the ‘Oasis of the Kalahari’ because of its generous source of permanent water flowing from the Gasegonyana -- also known as ‘The Eye’ of Kuruman.

The Eye is a natural spring that produces 20 to 30 million liters (5 to 8 million gallons) of water daily to a population of 71,000 people. It flows from solution cavities in the dolomite rock of the Ghaap Plateau.  The spring is also home to cichlid fish, an endangered species.

The Eye, Kuruman, Karoo Region

The Eye Natural Spring at Kuruman, Kalahari Region Northern Cape

The Scottish missionary Robert Moffat and his wife Mary arrived in Kuruman in 1820 and lived here for 50 years between 1820 and 1870. He was the first person to translate the Bible into seTswana. He also built the Moffat Church which was completed in 1838. For many years it was the biggest building in the Northern Cape. His daughter also named Mary, married the famous missionary and explorer Dr David Livingstone in this church. In 1939 it was declared a National Monument.

Mr. Moffat was also responsible for initiating classes that taught the local people to read. Using a local printing press, he started printing the Bible in South Africa.

A number of minerals and precious stones are still mined in Kuruman including Tiger’s eye, Manganese, Iron ore and blue asbestos. Agriculture now also plays a role in its economy.


The town is found about 100km (62 miles) west of Kuruman on the N14 highway at the foot of the Langeberg Mountains.


Van Zylsrus
Located 100km (62 miles) northeast of Hotazel on Route 31, it is a convenient stop for travelers on their way to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.


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