Posts tagged with “Port Nolloth; Kleinzee; Koingnaas; Hondeklipbaai”

Port Nolloth

Thursday, 14 July, 2022

We headed out on a drive to Port Nolloth recently.  It is a leisurely 700k  drive from Cape Town.

The town itself is not big, and, well, desertish one could say. 

When copper was discovered in 1852 at nearby O’Kiep (ok, 160km is ‘nearby’ in this part of the world) the then Cape Colony administration decided to develop Port Nolloth as a port for the export of copper.

However, the harbour was too shallow for bigger ships, with some resulting losses / repairs, and by the early 1900’s they started sending O’Kiep’s copper via rail to a different destination for export.  In 1926, though, Port Nolloth was revived when alluvial diamonds were found.  [Source:  Port Nolloth – Wikipedia]

The most recent sensus figures of 2011 show the population of Port Nolloth as 11 982.  [Source:  Richtersveld Local Municipality – Wikipedia]

Heading West the last 80km’s after leaving the N7
The town has a definite starting point and end point
Typical platteland small town
Bella de Port restaurant
The view from Bella de Port

A tour within a tour

Since we were in the vicinity, we decided we should explore the Southerly neighbouring towns. 

The road to Hondeklipbaai

Our travels took us first to Kleinzee, some 70 km’s South of Port Nolloth.  Kleinzee used to be a closed diamond town with, at its peak, some 4000 inhabitants.  Mining came to an end by 2013 with the town now being ‘open’, but evidently with very scaled down economic activity. 

Interestingly, whereas the road from Port Nolloth to Kleinzee is a gravel road, between Kleinzee and Koingnaas the road is tarred.  Koingnaas was established in 1970 as a satellite town of Kleinzee, and the same fate thus befell it as Kleinzee when mining activities came to an end.  I would assume De Beers, who did the mining explorations, had the road tarred for the benefit of the people living in these two towns.  The population in 2011 was 728 and, well, it shows.

The last remaining town on our day trip was Hondeklipbaai (Dog stone bay, directly translated).  Population 540. 

A local with whom we chatted explained that with the demise of the mining activities, and also with the fishing factory closing down, the town basically ground to a halt. It is, well, small and quiet. 

The name comes from a stone that looks like a dog.  Viewing a picture of this stone, I could not make out the dog, so I skipped the 4km drive to check out the stone for myself.  Sorry.  We rather had lunch at Sam’s.

Sam’s restaurant
Sam’s view

From Hondeklipbaai you can aim to the East the 94km to Garies, or back North to Port Nolloth 157km away. After lunch at Sam’s Restaurant, we headed back for Port Nolloth.

In the week before our visit a storm dislodged the bell buoy in the harbour from its mooring and they had to send a tug after it to chase it down and bring it back. 

Bell buoy

What follows is a summary for dummies on navigation in Port Nolloth harbour.  I found it fascinating.

The recalcitrant bell buoy is some 12 meters in height.  The upper 4 meter structure houses the bell which rings as the swell causes the buoy to move in the water – for the foggy days when you have to listen for the bell because you cannot see it.  The buoy itself is another 4 meters, and the part below the water also 4 meters.  This buoy needs to be anchored to two moorings, and held in position which is indicated on the nautical navigational maps.  Given the purpose it serves, only a very small margin of movement is allowed.

So the traveller approaching Port Nolloth first needs to line up (at 066 degrees) the lighthouse, the leading light (which is about 40 meters in front of it) and the light on the bell buoy. 

You then navigate your boat to the bell buoy at 66 degrees.  Once past the bell buoy, the aim to the right where there is a designated channel through which you should travel.  This is demarcated by three red buoys on the port side (left) and three green buoys on the starboard side.  Once through this channel there is a further series of yellow buoys just to keep you on track up to the jetty.

Map Source:

Since I take it that the discerned readers of this blog were just dying to know how to navigate into Port Nolloth harbour, I inserted the part above specially for you.

Port Nolloth
Diamond boats in the harbour