Pofadder, Northern Cape
Did you know?
A group of Afrikaans travellers searching for a place to settle, known as the Trek Boers, arrived in Pofadder in 1889, attracted by its perennial spring. They started farming here and many of their descendants are still here today.
Pofadder might look like a nondescript town in a nowhere part of the world, hence its association as South Africa’s Timbuktu, a town so remote you'd only go there under extreme circumstances.
You are most likely to drive past this town on route to the Orange River (be it for rafting, to see the Augrabies Falls or on the road from Springbok to Upington).
But actually, it is a magical world for those who know it, and if you have the time, consider pausing here. In spring the region shows off its obvious beauty. Situated at the edge of the Namaqualand flower world, the landscape here simmers with colour in years of good rain.
Out of season it has a hidden beauty waiting to be explored. To experience this landscape, hiking, quad biking and 4x4 adventures are all offered, as is homegrown hospitality and delicious farm-fresh lamb.
Some people might think the town takes its name from the snake of the same name in Afrikaans (a pofadder or puffadder is one of South Africa's most venomous species).
But Pofadder actually gets its name from a Khoi-Khoi chief, Klaas Pofadder, who first settled here with his people in the 1800s because of a sweet water spring in the area. When a mission was established later, the name stuck.
A group of Afrikaans travellers, known as the trekboers, also arrived in Pofadder in 1889, attracted by its perennial spring. They started farming here and many of their descendants are still here today. Should you spend a night or two in this area, you'll be sure to meet them.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Tel: +27 (0)54 933 0063
How to get here
Pofadder is about 700km from Cape Town and about 650km from Kimberley. From Cape Town, it's a beautiful drive through Namaqualand, and it can be done in a standard vehicle, but a 4x4 is preferable, for exploring the off-the-beaten track byways.
Best time to visit
All year round but if you want to see the flowers, then visit in the springtime, from late August to the end of September. Bear in mind it is scorchingly hot in these parts in summer.
Around the area
Pofadder is in Namaqualand, renowned for its plant species, flowers and desert landscapes. Take time to explore this region where time and space are still plentiful. About 40km from Pofadder, there is a cathedral built in the desert by monks copying a picture in an encyclopaedia, at Pella. This is well worth a visit.
Your own vehicle.
Length of stay
Distances in this region are great and the landscape is vast. Set aside at least a week to explore Namaqualand, and its quaint towns like Pofadder.
What to pack
Walking gear, hats, water, cameras, maps, GPS.
Where to stay
In Pofadder you can stay at the Pofadder Hotel or choose from a range of guesthouses and farm stays.
What to eat
Meals are available at all the places to stay.