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Kuruman is known for its scenic beauty and the Eye of Kuruman, a geological feature that brings water from deep underground. It was at first a mission station of the London Missionary Society founded by Robert Moffat in 1821.
In 1841 David Livingstone arrived here for his first position as a missionary.

The Kuruman River, which is dry except for flash floods after heavy rain, is named after the town.

Kuruman is situated on the Ghaap Plateau 1 131m above sea level. The origin of the town’s name is uncertain but it is generally accepted as being a variation of the name of an 18th-century San leader, Kudumane.

Kuruman is popularly referred to as the ‘Oasis of the Kalahari’. It is blessed with a permanent and abundant source of water. More densely vegetated than most oases, its water flows from Gasegonyana, commonly called The Eye or “die oog”.

Attractions in Kuruman include:

– The Bird Sanctuary has a wetland area with plenty of grass, reeds, and trees. There are about 115 different species of birds mainly from the duck, ibis and heron families.

– The 2 000 hectares Nature Reserve is situated on the northwest side of Kuruman. A wide variety of indigenous game can be viewed including giraffe, eland, gemsbok, blue wildebeest, waterbuck, kudu, red hartebeest, zebra, sable antelope, impala, blesbok, springbok, ostrich, duiker, steenbok, black-backed jackal and caracal (lynx). The camel-thorn, wild sage and umbrella-thorn are the main tree species in the Reserve.

– Black Rock Sport and Recreational Club for tennis, bowls, squash, golf and swimming. Tel 053 751 5555.

– The Eye is the largest natural fountain in the Southern Hemisphere. Stocked with goldfish, carp, barbel, and blue kurper. The Eye has full café, curio, and ablution facilities. Tel 053 712 1095.

– Kuruman is home to the Kalahari Hunters’ Association, tel 053 712 2711. The abundant game bred and culled in the area is fast turning it into a hunter’s Mecca.

– On the road to Upington, the Kalahari Raptor Centre treats and rehabilitates injured raptors. By appointment only. Tel 053 712 3576,

– The Kuruman Country Club offers golf (9 holes), squash course, bowls, tennis, snooker. Tel 053 712 1242.

– Tour the spectacular tunnels and rock formations of Black Rock’s worked-out manganese mine. Restricted to 20 people booked a week in advance. Tel 053 751 5555.

– Dr Robert Moffat and his wife, Mary, arrived in Kuruman from Scotland in 1820. The Moffat Church was completed in 1838 and, for years, was the largest building in the Northern Cape. The marriage of their daughter, Mary, to explorer David Livingstone took place in the church, declared a national monument in 1939. Tel 053 712 1352/2645.

– The Truce Tree in Seodin Rd. The 1914 Rebellion left its mark on Kuruman. General J Kemp and 700 rebels invaded Kuruman to replenish their rations. Captain Frylinck and Lieutenant Gash were responsible for the safety of Kuruman. After a short skirmish, the garrison surrendered. An armistice was negotiated beneath this shady camelthorn tree.

– Tswalu Kalahari Reserve ( new beginning in the Tswana language), is the largest privately owned game reserve in South Africa. The reserve has over 70 species of mammals and more than 200 bird species.

– The Wonderwerk Cave and Rock Paintings span the stone age. Finds include Acheulean handaxes and cleavers, evidence of controlled use of fire, grass bedding, animal remains including extinct species, engraved stones, and a wide range of Later Stone Age artifacts. The site is being declared a Grade 1 National Heritage site. Tel 082 832 7226.

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