Situated in the rural parts of the Northern Cape, what makes Kanoneiland a popular tourist attraction is its location on a large island in the Orange River Valley.
Kanoneiland received its name from a ragtag band of Karanna River pirates, who took over the settlement in the late 1870’s. They would hide in dense foliage, waiting on unsuspecting individuals in order to pillage and steal from them. In 1879, the pirates soon met their match when a force of 80 policemen led an attack on them. In a counterstrike, the pirates built cannons made out of aloe stem, which were filled with gunpowder. The use of the weapon literally backfired, however, as once the gunpowder was ignited the makeshift cannons exploded, killing many of the marauders.
Visitors to the settlement are taken aback by its boundless beauty, where it is home to an abundance of lush foliage and rolling, green fields. However, while endlessly serene and picturesque, locals have to contend with untamed forces of nature during the change of the seasons. During the wintertime, vineyards become scorched and dried out; while the heavy summer rains tend to result in the island flooding. While it is certainly an inconvenience, the residence of the islanders are situated on higher ground; meaning that their homes are safe from flood-related destruction.
Holidaymakers who are looking for an insider’s guide to the settlement should book a tour with a clued-up local. Here, you’ll learn the history of Kanoneiland, have a glimpse into the daily lives of the residents; and taste some traditional, home cooked meals prepared by one of the islanders. A day of exploring the island will introduce you to a way of life that is uncomplicated and free of the usual stresses that one faces on a daily basis. Sundowners can be enjoyed at dusk, where you’ll bask in the the sounds of silence while watching the sun slowly set over the ocean.
Those who are looking to travel further field can make a trip to the Augrabies Falls National Park. ‘Augrabies’ which means ‘place of great noise’, is aptly named as it refers to sounds the majestic Orange River makes as it thunders its way downwards in a spectacular waterfall. Apart from the majestic waterfall, the park is a sanctuary for a diverse array of species – from birds and reptiles to various antelope and the endangered black rhino.
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