Travel: Nieuwoudtville

Story and images by Godfrey Castle

At first glance, Nieuwoudtville looks like one of those sparsely populated, dusty, country towns− the ones where you share the garage forecourt with a tractor and an old bakkie with two bewildered-looking sheep peering through the tralies on the back.

You wait patiently for the solitary petrol pump attendant to get around to filling your tank; and, while you wait, you think to yourself, ‘Nothing happens here.’ But the sun is getting low in the big blue sky, so you contemplate the camping sign you saw some metres back…

And so, by chance, you stumble upon the fact that there are some unusual, interesting and really great reasons why you should visit Nieuwoudtville. The first reason to visit Nieuwoudtville is the temperature. The Northern Cape area can become very hot in summer, but here, at 731 m above sea level, the climate is cool… much, much cooler than Vanrhynsdorp, Clanwilliam and Citrusdal.

Driving up from the Cape Town side, you will climb the fabulous Van Rhyns Pass, on the R27 between Vanrhynsdorp and Nieuwoudtville. It has sharp switchbacks, and the steep climb offers spectacular views out over the vlaktes below.

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