Visit to Nababeep and Okiep.

Two towns close to Springbok, that used to be part of my sales territory, are Nababeep and Okiep. Both are old copper mining towns that have now shut down all mining. I think the last mine to shut down was in 2003, and by the look of things they are both are battling to survive.

Saw this display of flowers just outside Nababeep.
Saw this display of flowers just outside Nababeep.

Namaqualand daisies.
Namaqualand daisies.

Nababeep is about 30km’s from Springbok and to get there one must travel on a road that has the most potholes I have ever come across on one  road. They must like them because there are notices  the whole way reminding you “Potholes”.  The name Nababeep combines two Nama words, naba meaning “hump of an animal” and  bib meaning “small spring”. Mining began here in the 1850’s and from 1876 ore was taken through to Port Nolloth by train for export.

Clara, a narrow-gauge steam locamotive used to rail copper ore to Port Nolloth.
Clara, a narrow-gauge steam locomotive, used to rail copper ore to Port Nolloth.

Outside display at the museum of old mining equipment.
Outside display at the museum of old mining equipment. (Also nice flower display)
For some reason this outfit reminded me of George the diamond diver.
For some reason this outfit reminded me of George the diamond diver.

"Fools" copper?

"Fools" copper?

While having a look at all the ore samples in the museum came across this one and thought this must be the mother load only to be told it was a very poor sample and of no value.

Ancient copper symbol.

Ancient copper symbol.

This symbol stems from the time when people believed that there were only 6 real metals – gold, silver, copper, tin, lead and iron.

All anyone could tell me about this old building was that it used to be a video shop.

All anyone could tell me about this old building was that it used to be a video shop.

From Nababeep I drove back along the potholed road to get to Okiep which is only about 8 km’s from Springbok. Okiep derived it’s name from the Nama word ‘U-gieb’ meaning ‘the great, brackish spring’. It was , until production stopped in 1918 the world’s richest copper mine. It was also the oldest mining town in South Africa where copper was first discovered and mined in 1855.

Two of the main attractions to see are the Smokestack and the Cornish Pump House.

Smokestack built by the Cape Copper Company as a ventilation shaft in 1880

Smokestack

Smokestack built by the Cape Copper Company as a ventilation shaft in 1880 and which is now a national monument.

The Cornish Pump House.

The Cornish Pump House.

A fully intact steam engine and the only remaining pump house of it’s sort in the Southern Hemisphere was used from 1882 to pump water from the mine.

All in all not sure what is going to happen to these 2 small towns. I remember Nababeep as being quite a modern progressive – for those days – town with a nice little hotel, golf course and other sporting facilities. Not much there now I’m afraid.

7 Comments

  1. Alison from Cape Town on August 11th, 2009

    Stunning photos, Sir! I would have photographed Clara the locomotive and all the old equipment too, flowers or no. My hubby and kids had to forcibly restrain me (not quite!) from taking a pic of an old loco outside Mokopane as we passed through last month….

    What can I say? I love old trains (I have happy memories of the train museum in Bulawayo looking at CJ Rhodes’s fabulous private carriage) and I was born on the Copper Belt in Zambia and grew up in a mining town in Zim – there must be something in my blood 😉

    Keep up the good work on the blog. I wish you many fine ‘bags’ along the coast.

  2. pbdphoto on August 11th, 2009

    Thanks Alli! Ja it has been a lot of fun up to now and it was fun seeing “Clara” after hearing so much about it in Port Nolloth.

  3. Chris M on August 11th, 2009

    That’s a big lump of gold, I hope you nicked it 😉

  4. pbdphoto on August 11th, 2009

    That rock was probably worth about 10c!!

  5. justBcoz on August 12th, 2009

    WOW! Look at those flowers …

    Awesome photos, as usual 🙂

  6. pbdphoto on August 12th, 2009

    @JustBcoz Thanks! Am still hoping to find some fields of flowers the way I remember from yeas ago.

  7. Hanlie on August 12th, 2009

    The flowers are amazing!



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