Vanrhynsdorp is a small town along South Africa’s National Highway #7 (N7). It is situated on the Cape-Namib route. This is one of Southern Africa's most important roads, connecting the Cape Provinces of Southern Africa with the country of Namibia. The region was first explored in 1661, the settlement established in 1751, and the town then renamed to Vanrhynsdorp in 1881.
From Vanrhynsdorp it is possible to travel further north along this route to Namibia. It is also possible to T-off to travel to South Africa’s inlands, in the direction of Gauteng province and Johannesburg city. This makes the city an important junction where most travelers either head North to Namibia via the traditional Khoi San region of Namaqualand and the Kamiesberg mountains, or where they head to central South Africa.
There are many varied choices for accommodation in Vanrhynsdorp. As well as several convenience and grocery stores, filling stations and fuel stops, and restaurants. But if passing through Vanrhynsdorp, one can find comfortable accommodation about 90 minutes’ drive further, whether heading north or inland. Towards Johannesburg going inland there are the towns of Nieuwoudtville and Calvinia. Travelling towards Namibia, there are many cosy accommodation options at Nuwerus and also in the Kamiesberg mountains, see Kamiesberg101.
Shortly after leaving Vanrhynsdorp heading towards South Africa’s inland one travels over Vanrhynspas, an extremely steep mountain pass from the top of which -- near the plateau -- spectacular views of the southern Knersvlakte biome can be photographed. This floral kingdom is comprised mainly of conophytums, mesembryanthoides, and succulent bulbs like Kukumakranka and Lachenalia.
••• It is not uncommon for large trucks to incorrectly navigate through this 8 kilometer long winding pass, jack-knife and make the road impassable. Tourists are advised to have an alternate route on standby, if possible, or be prepared to overnight in a town close by.
Leaving Vanrhynsdorp, heading north towards the deserts of Namibia, one soon passes through a large biodiversity hotspot that stretches all the way to the Kamiesberg mountains in the heart of Namaqualand. This region is the natural historical home of the Khoikhoi, Khoi San people, and is one of 25 global biodiversity hotspots. In the Kamiesberg one will see famous plant-life such as the Quiver Tree and the Bushman Bulb (Boophane) which was used to make poisoned hunting arrowheads.