In Khoi Kakamas means “poor pastures”. I think that they got it wrong! Make an effort to visit the region surrounding the Orange River and you will appreciate the fact that the river brings life to the surrounding area where temperatures soar in summer and experience freezing desert temperatures during winter.
The town came about between 1800 and 1900 when there were a war and a worldwide depression. People of the area were bitterly poor due to rinderpest and drought and came to the church for help to survive. In exchange for care the local people, under supervision of Japie Lutz, dug and built a canal system by hand. This system is still in operation even today. The system includes two tunnels of 97m and 175m respectively, turning the area to a greenery.
Augrabies Falls surely is the most visited place in Kakamas, but there are some other interesting features that can also be enjoyed. Close to town there is some waterwheels that nearly ended up in a bitter court case. We were not lucky to see them in operation during our visit, but who knows, maybe next time.
With the help of some local directions, we headed to Die Mas van Kakamas for dinner during loadshedding. When we parked under the grape pergola my jaw just dropped at the size of the grape bunches. Sipping on award winning gin from Die Mas and munching on perfect pizzas, it was a perfect end to a long day on the road with some niggles of its own.
On the road to Augrabies falls I could tick another box. I have never before seen Quiver trees or Kokerbome in Afrikaans. They almost look like a very big aloe but are fascinating creatures if you start reading up on it. Here you will also find the Quiver Tree Route.
We popped in at Oranje Rivier Cellars just outside of Kakamas to taste some of the local wines in an air-conditioned tasting room. Nothing lavish and flashy but were still treated with the same great hospitality and enthusiasm from the staff. Some we liked (bought a box from the Hedgehog range) and some we did not like. The area produces some fine wines exclusively for the export market.
Time to conclude our visit to Kakamas and return home. We stopped at several farmstalls along the route as the temperature was starting to climb around 11 o’clock. The most visible one is surely the Pink Padstal which was packed to the rafters so it was quick in and out to buy some local raisins before we hit the road.
We will return to the area to explore the region further as we felt more than welcome on our first visit to area. Thank you, Kakamas, you made an impression on us.