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Ghaap towns

The Ghaap Region welcomes you ...

... to explore the secrets and mysteries of this frontier area! This was truly the "Wild West" of South Africa, leaving a trail of heritage sites from the earliest epoch of the earth (R3 billion years ago) to living memory. This area played a unique and critical role in South Africa’s history. There are many fascinating historical stories that can be told about these towns.


We also create heritage awareness and new social networks in the Ghaap Region.

Join us in our Ghaap towns:

(see the green line on the map)

  • Kuruman and Mothibistad

  • Kathu and Deben

  • Postmasburg

  • Olifantshoek

  • Danielskuil

  • Griquatown and Campbell ...

And our Ghaap Rim towns:

(see the dotted line on the map)

  • Vanzylsrus in the north,

  • Groblershoop in the west,

  • Prieska and Douglas in the south, and Barkly West in the east.

The Ghaap falls within the Savannah biome, in the south, and the northern areas shade into the Kalahari biome.

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Ghaap Plateau

Where is the Ghaap Plateau?

This high land nestles in the south, east and west, in the valleys of the Orange and Vaal rivers, thereby forming a heart-shaped elevated region.


During the colonial era, this area was known as Transorangia - the area across the Orange River. The river was also known, by the indigenous people, as the Gariep River. The river was the northern border of the Cape Colony, and beyond it, no-one was in control. The Tswana, Griqua, missionaries, and various roaming bands competed for living space and resources. It was a wild and restless place!

The Ghaap area is so dry and inhospitable that white farmers did not venture here until the late 1800s. The Tswana occupied only the northern parts of the Ghaap, where there was surface water. By 1884, the land which was not occupied by African communities became crown land. Until then, the Ghaap towns - Griqua Town and Danielskuil - were populated and governed by Griqua communities. Modern towns only came about in the early 1900s. By then, the political power of the Tswana had been broken, in the Langberg war of 1897, and the Griqua towns had been absorbed by the Cape Colony. The economy of the Ghaap only developed significantly in the 1930s, with the advent of railways, better roads and borehole technolgy.

Only then did the vast underground water resources of the Ghaap's prehistoric dolomite formation became available to the growing rural and urban populations.

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The sheer richness of heritage resources in the area is astonishing! This includes:

  • The Earth's early geological history (from 3 billion years ago)

  • The mining richness of the area, as well as the caves and “eyes” (fountains)

  • Early mankind – the stone age artefacts at Kathu and Wonderwerk Cave

  • Khoisan history

  • Tswana (Thlaping and Rolong) history, at least since 1700

  • Griqua history since 1800

  • Explorers and travelers, including David Livingstone

  • The Moffat Mission in Kuruman which as the main stop on the “highway to the north”, into southern Africa

  • The brigands, outlaws and renegades of the 1800s

  • The wars between the Cape Colony and the Tswana in the Langberg – 1870s and 1890s

  • The Anglo-Boer War

  • The 1914 Afrikaner rebellion

  • The history of frontier towns and churches, and

  • The recent struggle for democracy, in the 1980s and 1990s.


Which other areas in South Africa have so much heritage to offer?

Join us in exploring this remarkable Confluence of Cultures!

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