The little hamlet of Okiep lies eight kilometres north of Springbok. It used to be the centre of South African copper mining. The large copper resourses had been discovered in 1855 already and Okiep experienced an immediate boom. In 1866 a narrow railway line to Port Nolloth at the coast was built, in order for the copper to be shipped from there. Because there was not enough water for the steam engines, the Namaqualand Mule Train was pulled by mules until 1890. In 1918 the Okiep copper mines ceased operating and the place became almost a ghost town.
In springtime, Okiep is - like the whole of Namaqualand - very rich in blooming wildflowers. Then a colourful carpet covers the wide planes.
The tourist centre of Okiep is the excellent Okiep Country Hotel, the only accommodation available in this town. The hotel houses a very popular restaurant and bar. Also offered are 4x4 tours into the surrounding areas, including the visit to a diamond mine at the coast and to the Richtersveld National Park. Okiep is the right address to appreciate the beauty of Namaqualand. Contact: Norman Featherstone,
Tel (027) 7441000, Fax (027) 7441170,
Top right: Old Smoke Stack in Okiep. Top left: Cornish Pump House in Okiep.