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Hondeklipbaai

Hondeklipbaai


Photo: Elize Hough

Hondeklip means Dog Stone and named after a rock that looked like a seated dog. In 1853 the "dog's ear" was cut off for the fictitious “Dog’s Ear Copper Company” (Cape Town), and in the 1970s its nose was damaged due to lightning.


Photo: Elize Hough

Attractions

The Namaqua National Park is north-east of Hondeklipbaai. Entry at Soebatsfontein is roughly 60Km away.

Hondeklipbaai falls within the WWF's Namaqualand-Namib Domain of the Succulent Karoo ecoregion. This region contains about 2000 endemic higher species, with more than 3000 of the world's 10'000 succulent species. As many as 435 species (miniature succulents) and 630 species of geophytes are unique to this area.

A new park is proposed for the area: Groen-Spoeg National Park, which would stretch about 50Km from Groenriviersmond to the Spoeg River at Hondeklipbaai. There are some archaeological finds in caves at the mouth of the Spoeg River, where Khoekhoen pastoralists seem to have dwelled as far back in history as 2100 years ago, based on sheep relics found.


Caves at Spoeg River

Shipwrecks

(courtesy Elize Hough)


Aristea: wrecked 4th July 1945


Jahleel: wrecked 1 August 2003

History

Hondeklipbaai was established in 1846 as a copper freight harbour for copper mined in the Namaqualand region, particularly at O'Kiep, about 200Km away. Although copper was found as long ago as 1685 during the time when Simon van der Stel governed the Cape of Good Hope on behalf of the Dutch East-India Company (VOC), it could never be exported due to the lack of transport. The harbour was first used in 1852 when 11 tons of copper was exported to Whales.

Hondeklipbaai became a municipality on 26 November 1862.

In 1871 it was decided to rather develop a harbour at Port Nolloth, only about 140Km from O'Kiep. This led to the demise of Hondeklipbaai. By June 1877 its magisterial status was withdrawn. The harbour continued to function as a small agricultural harbour for produce to Cape Town.

In 1925 a crayfish factory was established, revitalising the settlement. Due to poor ecological management of the ocean's resources the factory closed down in 1994.

Diamond mining was begun in the 1970s until 2003, when the mine closed down. Again poor environment management left the community stranded with numerous ugly mounds of mining excavations that have yet to be restored.

Economy

Industry: kelp harvesting, tourism.

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