The Tiny Town called Loxton

There are many small towns around South Africa that surprise me but it’s the town of Loxton in the sparse province of the Northern Cape that astounded me the most.

I never heard of Loxton before. Not even when I announced that I’m going there that a famous author, Deon Meyer wrote about this place in his book called Tracker. This place was, indeed a mystery until I started planning our Northern Cape trip that I found it on my South Africa pocket map.

loxton

As we were departing from Calvinia, people we encountered asked, “where to next?”. We proudly said we going to Loxton. It then followed with strange expressions and questions such as,

“Why?”
“That’s not even a town”
“It’s a strange place”.

I thought they were joking but after a long 308km trek along R63 did we come to the realisation why people were curious about our decision.

It’s a tiny town with a mere few houses in the middle of nowhere surrounded by nothing other than rusty-red sand, scanty landscapes, and barely a soul in sight. When we pulled up to the gate of our establishment, Die Rolbos Loxton Guest Cottage, the owner, Jac asked us what we were doing here.

It’s the silence you notice immediately as we unpack the car and settle in the 2-bedroom cottage. The place is spacious with a fully functioning kitchen, bathroom, lounge area with a fireplace, and a beautiful wooden veranda. Don’t expect WIFI or a television; it’s not what Loxton is about.

So we decide to walk the town on foot.

The first thing you will notice is the abundance of trees lining the street that’s over 100 years old. Next are the original narrow leiwater channels that are still being used for flood-irrigation hence why the electricity poles are in the middle of the street.

loxton

Right opposite to the Dutch Reformed Church is the one co-op store filled with essentials. But to our surprise, right around the corner is a building painted in bright yellow. A restaurant called Loxton Lekker.

Because we’re starving and bought nothing to eat, we order a quick fish and chip parcel and sit outside on the stoep to admire the church. It’s ridiculously quiet but I like the stillness the dorp brings.

Whilst walking back to our accommodation, we appreciate the lovely old Karoo architectural houses with wooden window shutters, different roof styles, and local stone embedded in various homes; all unique and fascinatingly beautiful.

The next morning, I wake up to noises from a soccer match being played in the distance and the sun peeking through the koppies. Even with a little clatter, I make my way to the veranda with a hot cup of coffee and a book in hand.

For breakfast, we head back to the yellow little shop where families gather for their Saturday morning skinner (gossip). To our right, a tannie is introducing her son and daughter-in-law to friends. To the side, men are talking about town politics. It’s wholesome and what small-town culture is about.

We head back home to find that we have no water to flush the toilet. One thing you will be surely aware of is that the water issues in this town are an ongoing issue. You will either find copper coming from your taps or water just not running at all.

Oh well. It’s Jac’s problem to sort out as we head to Victoria West for the afternoon.

We can’t help but spend the late afternoon coming back from Victoria West; contemplating life on the stoep as the karoo sun begins to set. They still playing soccer on the barren field and it seems the community is enjoying the chatter after all.

Even though we have an eight-hour drive back to Cape Town, we know we will soon be coming back even if the air is dry that you can’t breathe properly, even if there’s no bank to draw money or that the two pump petrol station doesn’t open on a Sunday – It’s a dorpie (even with only a 100 residents) you respect, love and adore even during the hardships the town brings.

This is Loxton for you.

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Till the next small town.

Stephanie Marthinus Blog