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Introduction

Orania is a town on the Orange River in the Karoo region of Northern Cape province in South Africa. Orania was founded in 1991 as an Afrikaner-only village to promote the language of Afrikaans and Afrikaner culture. It was built as a temporary settlement for non-white construction workers building the nearby Vanderkloof Dam in 1963. It was then abandoned after the dam was completed in 1976.

The current town was formed when a group of Afrikaners bought the land. Since that time the town has grown substantially, today to a community of approximately 1,300 people, with several restaurants, hostels, and businesses. As an intentional community dedicated to Afrikaner culture, to settle in Orania one must identify as an Afrikaner. However, persons of all backgrounds are welcome to visit the town.

Due to its nature as an "all-white" town, Orania is controversial and while some see it as an last outpost of Apartheid, others see it as an cultural expression of self-reliance (Orania pretty much runs itself, providing its own services for its citizens). In 1995, Nelson Mandela visited Orania to meet with Betsie Verwoerd, the widow of Hendrik Verwoerd, who was Prime Minister of South Africa from 1958 to 1966 and is widely known as "the architect of Apartheid".

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Sights and Activities

The town is on the banks of the Orange River, making it a great location for fishing.

A good start is at the tourist office Orania Inligtingskantoor by the gas station, open weekdays 08:30-16:30 and Saturday 16:30. They sell maps, clothing, and local produce. They offer tours at 09:00, 11:00 and 14:00 on weekdays, and 09:00 and 11:00 on Saturdays. Tours include access to the Hendrik Verwoerd museum.

The cultural history museum is open Tuesday to Saturday, 09:00-13:00 and 14:00-15:00.

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Getting There

Orania is split in half by road R369 that runs trough the town. Hopetown is 40 km north. The closest larger town with regular air connections is Kimberley, approximately 160 km away (1 hour 40 minutes' drive). You can hire a car at Kimberley Airport.

Orania has an airstrip (vliegveld).

Public transport is very limited.

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Getting Around

The town is small and you can easily get around on foot. It's also possible to rent a bike.

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Eat

  • Orania Oewer Restaurant, ☏ +27 053 207 0016, ✉ navrae@oraniahotel.co.za. A family restaurant where locals and tourists gather from the surrounding areas. Beautiful view over the Orange River. Many dishes of the Afrikaner cuisine are served.
  • Skildershoek, just across the main road from the tourist office.

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Drink

  • Bavaria Brouery: just south of the tourist office on the main road.
  • Grootrivier Brouery

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Sleep

There are a couple of small B&Bs and camp sites.

  • Orania Oewerhotel en Spa, ☏ +27 053 207 0016, ✉ navrae@oraniahotel.co.za. Check-in: 08:00, check-out: 18:00. A 4-star hotel with a small spa and restaurant.

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Keep Connected

Internet

Big cities and most of the popular places in the country usually have an internet café though they are not as abundant as in, for example, Asia or South America. It's also relatively expensive, usually 20-30 rand an hour, sometimes even more. Many of the accommodation options have internet access available, either wireless with your own laptop or by their own computer(s). Wireless access is also available throughout the country in more and more cafes and eateries, sometimes free and sometimes for a small fee. Note that you usually have to login anyway and agree with the terms and conditions. It is cheapest to buy a prepaid cell phone starter pack (less than R10) and access the Internet with GPRS or 3G. Generally R2 per MB for out of bundle data from most providers (50c for Virgin Mobile), but it becomes a lot cheaper if you buy a data bundle. In general coverage is good except the more rural parts of the northern and northwestern parts of the country (especially Northern Cape).

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

South Africa's country code is 27. Telephone numbers in South Africa are 10 digits, including the local area code. There are also some prefixes like 0800 (toll free), 0860 (charged as local call) and 0861 (flat-rate calls). The general emergency number is 10111, ambulance is 10177 and police is 1011.

South Africa has very good phone facilities, which are also becoming more and more competitively priced, now that more operators are active on the market. The main ones are Neotel and Telkom South Africa. Local phone calls are cheap (about one Rand an hour), domestic long-distance calls are about twice as expensive. International calls start at around 6 Rand an hour but can be (much) higher to less usual countries. Note that public phones are about twice as cheap as new private phone centres. Phone calls tend to be the cheapest during the weekend and during business hours (8:00am to 5:00pm) on weekdays and more expensive during the evening and nights at weekdays.

There are also good mobile-phone facilities, with GSM and 3G networks. There are five cell phone providers in South Africa: Vodacom, MTN, Cell-C, Virgin Mobile and 8ta. SIM card prepaid starter kits are available from R10. You will need a passport and a proof of residential address and it has to be registered before you can call or receive calls. You can buy credit for prepaid phones just about everywhere, remembering you will usually need cash to do so from service stations.

Post

The SAPO (South African Post Office) is the nation's postal service. They have a track & trace system for parcels as well. Post offices are open from 8:30am to 4:30pm from Monday to Friday, and 8:00am to noon on Saturdays. Domestic and international deliveries are reliable but can sometimes take up to several weeks. If you want to send something oversees of any value, try using one of the private mail services, like Postnet. Also international courier companies like TNT, UPS and DHL tend to be fast, very reliable and competitively priced.

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Orania Travel Helpers

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This is version 1. Last edited at 12:43 on Aug 2, 19 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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