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South Africa Holiday: The Eye at Kuruman

South Africa Holiday: Kuruman

Kuruman is the principal town in the Kgalagadi district of the Northern Cape. Famous for its spring, the Eye, its is also the home of the Kuruman Moffat Mission established by Robert and Mary Moffat in the early 1800s.

Kuruman lies on the Ghaap Plateau at the foot of a low range of hills in the northeast of the Northern Cape.
The origin of the town’s name is uncertain but it is generally accepted as being a variation of the name of an 18th-century San leader, Kudumane.
Click to see a detailed map of Kuruman and the Northern CapeThis remote town has been dubbed the the "Oasis of the Kalahari” because of a geological feature bringing water to the surface from deep underground. Known as "The Eye ("Die Oog") or Gasegonyana.
The Eye is an inexhaustible fountain delivering twenty million litres of crystal clear water daily. White explorers first discovered this during the Truter Somerville Expedition of 1801 (Samuel Daniel). The Eye is the biggest natural fountain in the southern hemisphere.
South Africa Holiday: The Kuruman Eye ("Die oog")
The first Europeans to enter this part of Africa at the start of the 1800s were mainly missionaries sent to establish a mission station.
The Scottish missionary Robert Moffat and his wife Mary arrived in what would become Kuruman in 1821.
Together with Robert Hamilton, Robert & Mary Moffat established the best-known Mission Station in Africa, often referred to as ‘the fountain of Christianity’. The mission station became the best-known frontier post in Southern Africa and a base for famous explorers, including David Livingstone (1813-1873).
In 1844 David Livingstone married the Moffat's daughter (also Mary). Between 1852 and 1856 Livingstone explored the African interior and was the first European to see the Mosi-oa-Tunya waterfall (which he renamed Victoria Falls after Queen Victoria).
It was not until 1887 that the official town of Kuruman was laid out. The original church has been perfectly preserved, as are many other historic houses.
The town's thriving economy owes its health to the community’s mining, stock farming and agricultural activities. Manganese, iron ore, and tiger’s eye are found and mined here. The world's richest blue asbestos deposits were found here, and the awful legacy of this form of mining continues to devastate the lives of many.
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