To a swift-moving traveller passing by on the R63, the Upper Karoo village of Loxton is often just a retreating church spire in a rear view mirror.
UFOlogists worth their salt will also remember Loxton as the place where, in 1975, a farmer saw four aliens in a ‘funny caravan’ and reported that they were all ‘a bit on the slow side’.
But just pull over and turn in one day if you’re in the area, and you’ll be amazed. Loxton, the place you may never have heard of, is well-beloved its locals and well-favoured by seasoned Karoo overlanders.
They made a wonderful movie called Jakhalsdans out here in Loxton, and many of the people you might meet here were hired as extras. A famous Afrikaans crime novelist called Deon Meyer has a place here. He and a number of farmers’ wives have banded together to form the I Am Living Trust, which tries to better the lives of Loxton children.
The trust often calls on celebrities to lend a hand with fund-raising. That’s why it’s not unusual to see a famous cabaret star like Antoinette Pienaar doing a charity show for the kids in the local church hall.
Weekenders love Loxton for its good heart, wide open spaces and sense of being a hideaway you’ll travel far to find. It used to be seen as a bit of an ‘old-age town’ but has undergone a transformation in recent years. The value of simply sitting on your stoep and spending a long time watching a donkey clop his way down the main street has finally been recognised by the younger set.
Loxton is enjoying a revival, new residents are arriving here from various corners of South Africa and abroad, looking for a Karoo Oasis filled with fresh air, tranquillity, vast plains to explore, and awesome stargazing to be enjoyed. Old Karoo style buildings dating back to 1900’s are being restored to their original beauty. Loxton is home to some of South Africa’s leading authors and novelists.
Loxton town is proud to be part of the new SKA Project where 80% was awarded to South Africa - Loxton today falls under the Karoo Radio Astronomy Reserve - designed to preserve the scientific integrity of the reserve - for ground-based astronomy.
Places to Stay
- 4-Seasons Guest House & Self-Catering Cottage - www.4-seasons.co.za
- Die Rooi Granaat - www.rooigranaat.co.za
Attractions and activities
- SKA, Meerkat sites near to Loxton - an ideal trip to make for the star gazing enthusiasts.
- Khoisan Rock Art: Rock engravings at Kafferskraal, Taaibosfontein
- Wildlife - Karoo National Park:where you will experience vast, welcoming silence, and see animals like the mountain zebra, oryx, springbok and red hartebeest. Lions were recently released in Karoo National Park for the first time after an absence of almost 170 years from the area, also a sanctuary for the endangered black rhino and riverine rabbit.
- Game Farms - Visit various game farms in the area.
- Corbelled Houses: Various farms around Loxton and just outside the town of Carnarvon at Stuurmansfontein are some fine examples.
- Nearby towns: Victoria West, Canavron
- Day Trips: to various interesting Karoo towns - Vosburg - Bushman Paintings, De Aar - Olive Schreiner House - writer of The Story of an African Farm.
- Area of Williston - Corbelled Houses, Sand Stone Church, Anglo Boer War Blockhouse.
- Beaufort West - Christian Barnard Museum -famous for performing the world's first successful human-to-human heart transplant. Dine at Suretta's Eatery - An all time favourite is slow cooked Karoo lamb
- Two new 4x4 eco-trails have opened at the Karoo National Park
- Hunting - On nearby Farms - Hunting Season only
- Hiking trail up the mountain
- Visit SKA (Square Kilometer Array) by appointments only - an awesome experience just outside the town Canavron. - Meerkat - World a World Class Telescope
- Easter - Karoo Endurance Challenge held over Easter weekends on Rietpoort farm. It’s popular for MotoX and quad bikes, but also hosts mountain bikes and 4x4’s. Contact organiser Joe van Wyk on 053-3812 ask 1802 or 072-348-7350. The town holds a mini-show on the first Saturday of December.
- Hiking, 4x4ing - around Molteno Pass, Three Sisters
- An Ideal place for Star Gazing
The Area: The Karoo
With the first rains, the seemingly arid soil of the Karoo bursts into abundant life, its hardy succulents complementing the sweet grasses on which the region's merino and fat-tailed sheep graze. The everpresent windpumps testify to the countless streams flowing between fissures underlying the dry but fertile soil.
Small, isolated but welcoming villages, a distinct Karoo architecture and imposing churches rest in valleys between desolate, flat-topped koppies. Take a short trip from Colesberg, an essential stopover for all travellers and a sheep-farming centre, to Hopetown, the scene of South Africa’s first recorded diamond find.
Return, passing Orania, a self-proclaimed Afrikaner volkstaat, before making your way to Vanderkloof and the Rolfontein Nature Reserve on the shores of the great Vanderkloof Dam.
Indulge in watersports or relax on its secluded banks which stretch 100km to the Doornkloof Nature Reserve on the man-made lake's southern shores. Throughout this wonderful part of the great Karoo, you can visit, hunt or hike on game farms and nature reserves teeming with every species of antelope. And, like the country they live in, the hardy inhabitants of the Karoo make you feel immediately at home in their beloved countryside.
- Weekenders love Loxton for its good heart, wide open spaces and sense of being a hideaway you’ll travel far to find.
- Loxton Bakery with delicious treats
- Ideal place for star gazing
- 4x4ing and hiking around Molten Pass, Three sisters mountain
- Day trips to see bushman paintings, Olive Schreiner House
- Game viewing
Originally the farm Phizantefontein, Loxton was bought from AE Loxton by the Dutch Reformed Church in 1899. Built to serve the sheep-farming community, it became a municipality in 1905. In March 1961, three-quarters of the town was destroyed by a flash-flood causing the dam above the town to burst. Loxton has long since recovered