This town lies at the foot of the Langeberg, a north-south range which stretches 180 km across the Kalahari.
Before the village was established, this area was inhabited by the Ba-Thlaro, a Tswana grouping, during the 1700s.
The town's name, Olifantshoek, was probably derived from the Tswana name, Ditlou, meaning"elephant".
The small statue of an elephant, in the main street of Olifantshoek, reminds us of this heritage.
War graves of 1878 and 1897
In 1871, the Cape Colony annexed Griqualand-West, mainly for its diamond-bearing potential. Olifantshoek was situated just 30 km north of this new boundary. There was widespread resistance amongst the black and coloured communities to this annexation. The Colony dispatched Col Charles Warren in October 1878 to clear the Langeberg of these rebellious groups. (The town Warrenton, north of Kimberley, was later named in his honour). The British camped at Ditlou (later called Olifantshoek), and there were several vigorous skirmishes.
Warrenton was triumphant, and quelled the rebellion. Or so he thought.
For two decades, the Langeberg exploded again in revolt, and it required another Cape expedition to finally suppress the black and coloured groups.
War graves from 1878 can be found on the farm Fuller, just north of Olifantshoek, while war graves from 1897 can be found on the farm Gamasep or Bergplaas.
After Bechuanaland (Botswana) was declared a British protectorate in 1885, the first Langberg farms were allocated to white farmers. This was a tough life, carving out productive enterprises amidst droughts, livestock diseases and beasts of prey.
The name Olifantshoek was first used in 1889 in an application for land in the area, towards the north-eastern side of the Langeberg. The village was founded in 1895.
In 1906, Olifantshoek received its first stone buildings – a police cell and magistrate’s office. A large marquee served as the first magistrate’s court. The first residential home was built in 1909, and soon some traders moved to the settlement. The town was officially declared as a township in 1917
A remnant of Olifantshoek's urban heritage