Geography and History
Britstown is a small farming town situated in the Northern Cape province of South Africa. Named after Hans Brits, who accompanied David Livingstone on a venture to the interior and then settled on the farm, Gemsbokfontein. In 1877, an association of local men, headed by TP Theron, bought a section of the farm on which they built a community centre and a church.
Soon after the discovery of diamonds at Hopetown and Kimberley, Brits realised that he and his neighbours could earn good money serving the growing traffic along the Diamond Way. So Brits arranged for a town to be laid out on a portion of his farm. As a tribute to him it was named Britstown.
A private irrigation scheme was started by the Smartt Syndicate in 1885 and liquidated in 1954. The concern built two dams, planted lucerne and wheat and grazed karakul sheep and Clydesdale horses. The 1961 floods destroyed the Smartt Irrigation Board Dam, rebuilt by the government in 1964.
The first inhabitants of this area were the /Xam (Bushmen). They were self-sufficient people who depended entirely on the land for their needs. The plains teemed with game, so they neither sowed nor kept livestock. Indigenous plants provided a variety of edible bulbs and bark for further nutritional and medicinal requirements.
With their stamina, tenacity and endurance the /Xam moved widely through the Karoo. At places where they sought shelter and rest from their wanderings, the /Xam left an artistic wealth of rock engravings, telling us what this world was like when it was theirs. The Karoo is renowned for its wealth of Stone Age remains spanning at least half a million years of human history. Rock art makes up a distinctly visible element of this legacy, and predominantly dates from the last 10 000 years. South Africa's heritage of Stone Age Art, among the richest in the world, is found in the form of engravings and paintings. Both forms are found in the Great Karoo. Engravings predominate, but finger paintings are often found in caves, shelters and overhangs.
Britstown Museum - Raath Str. Originally the Holy Trinity Church.
Dutch Reformed Church - Church Str. Built in 1877.
Hiking - Experience the unique Karoo landscape on several hiking trails on surrounding farms. Arrangements by Transkaroo Country Lodge.
Khoisan Rock Art - Interesting archeological sites on farms Brakwater, Keurfontein, Maritzdam and Omdraaivlei are considered important heritage sites. Permission required to visit. Contact local tourist information for details.
Stargazing - Excursions to marvel at the sparkling Karoo night sky can be arranged by Transkaroo Country Lodge.
Britstown offers accommodation in the form of Guesthouses, B&B, Self Catering and camping.
Information and photos courtesy of Northern Cape.com
|Britstown Tourism Office Information|
|Fax:||+27 (0) 53-672-0225|
|Address:||Market Street, Britstown