Port Nolloth, formerly known as 'Aukwatowa' (Nama: "Where the water took the old man away"), was virtually uninhabited until the discovery of diamonds in 1926. Old railway tracks bear testament to copper deposits that were mined inland at Okiep and transported by train to be exported from this harbour town in long forgotten days. Sizamile (which means: "we have tried") was built in 1993 and is home to about 1200 people. In 1921, the first black people started living in Port Nolloth in Paraffien-Street on the border of the coloured settlement. Later, they were moved to the Tent Dorp and the Bloukamp, before they settled in in Sizamile. Topographically, the town belongs to the dry and vast Sandveld, and is often shrouded in sea fog locally known as the malmokkie.
Established as a small-vessel harbour in 1854, Port Nolloth is a centre for small-scale diamond recovery and crayfishing industries. Access to much of the South-North coast is restricted by diamond mines but at Port Nolloth you can enjoy sunbathing, walking and line-fishing on clean beaches. Local guides from Sizamile will take you on a walking tour during which they will fill you in on the settlement's rich history, cultural and social challenges and recent developments. Visit the developing chicken farm, vegetable gardens or creche, drink some Namaqualand whisky at the shebeens, and step into shacks as well as RDP (Reconstruction and Development Programme) - houses in this charismatic part of the South-North Tourism Route.
Clean beaches and calm seas at McDougalls Bay invite boating, kayaking, swimming or walking. Enquire about a fishing permit at the tourism office in Port Nolloth (situated in the old post office), and catch your own snoek or yellow-tail fish, which can also be bought from the factory in season, should you be unlucky with your own fishing efforts.
ATTRACTIONS: THINGS TO DO
Port Nolloth Museum: Set in an 1880 historical building, the eclectic museum displays the history of diamond diving in the area, as well as geology and natural history.
MacDougall's Bay: A holiday town where visitors can canoe around Bird Island and enjoy other water sports as well as watch marine life.
Dunes: Pristine dunes along the coast offer stunning views, but for walking and off-road driving please stick to demarcated trails and tracks.
Port Nolloth and the informal settlement, Sizamile, are situated on the Atlantic Coast and form part of a circular route through the Richtersveld. Turning off the N7 at Steinkopf the R382 takes you some 90 km to Port Nolloth and Sizamile. From here you can continue to Alexander Bay, Sanddrift, the Richtersveld National Park, Kuboes, Eksteenfontein, Lekkersing and finally back to the R382.