Kuruman, Northern Cape
Did you know?
The origin of the name Kuruman is probably a variation of the name 'Kudumane', a local 18th Century San leader.
Kuruman is a small town north of Kimberley in the Northern Cape which is best known for its pure, abundant spring, called The Eye of Kuruman. Thanks to The Eye, Kuruman is known as the Oasis of the Kalahari.
In days gone by when game, Khoisan and missionaries first came upon this source of sweet water, it offered vital replenishment in the desert plains of the Kalahari, populated by wildlife and camel thorn trees. The first people to drink from it were the Khoisan, whose paintings of animals and abstract objects can be seen at the Wonderwerk Cave or 'Miracle' Cave in the Kuruman Hills, about 45km from Kuruman.
Ongoing archaeological excavations have revealed that the Wonderwerk Cave, a National Heritage Site, is one of the longest inhabited caves on Earth, dating back hundreds of thousands of years. There is a small museum here, but call ahead to ensure access to the cave.
Grab a sandwich and relax at The Eye for an hour or so. For the more active, take the 11km Kuruman Hiking Trail, which starts at The Eye and includes several landmarks in town, including the Denison and Brown forts used by the British during the South Africna War (also known as the Anglo-Boer War) and the Slaughter Tree – proclaimed the town slaughtering place in 1913.
Kuruman’s Eye is the alpha and omega in this arid region. In 1831 it led to the establishment of the Moffat Mission by Scottish missionary Robert Moffat who lived here for 50 years and whose daughter, Mary, married David Livingstone. He regarded it as a symbolic font of Christianity. The historic Moffat Mission church is still a working church and is well worth a visit.
Gateway to game country, Kuruman is a popular stopover for hunters and wildlife seekers. It is en route to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and Tswalu Private Desert Reserve – a hauntingly beautiful reserve and home to an exceptional variety of animals including desert black rhino and desert elephant.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Tel: +27 (0)53 712 1352
Tel: +27 (0)82 832 7726