General Information on Leeu Gamka
Leeu Gamka is situated in the Central Karoo region of the Western Cape, South Africa. Leeu Gamka began as a pleasant outspan on the Karoo plains where travellers paused to rest and refresh. It was a favoured spot because there was drinkable water. Leeu Gamka is located where the Leeu River enters the Gamka River; both rivers are intermittent in this region. "Leeu" and "Gamka" means "Lion", in Afrikaans and ǀXam respectively.
The town lies at an elevation of around 550 metres (1,800 ft), in the Southern Karoo; to the North are the Nuweveld Mountains, and to the South the Swartberge. It is situated on the N1 national road and the Cape Town–Kimberley railway, between Laingsburg and Beaufort West; the travel distance from Cape Town is 387 kilometres (240 mi) by road and 465 kilometres (289 mi) by rail.
First been named Bitter Water by road builders Thomas and Andrew Geddes Bain, because the underground water is hydrogenous (brack), it soon became the choice stop of adventurers, explorers, missionaries, settlers, migrant farmers and even outlaws. They all camped near a grove of indigenous sweet thorn trees where the Leeu and Gamka rivers meet. It was cool and there was grazing.
The discovery of diamonds at Hopetown in 1867 and at Kimberley in 1868, benefited Leeu Gamka as traffic on the road increased vastly. Hoards of fortune hunters camped at Bitter Water as diamond fever gripped locals and foreigners. When the Anglo Boer War broke out in 1899, troop trains and wounded soldiers almost immediately began passing through Leeu Gamka. The hotel and the railwaymen's single quarters, the picturesque little stone cottages still standing next to the railway line, were used as a hospital and convalescent wing.
In 1901, the British forces built a blockhouse on the banks of the Leeu River. Its purpose was to guard the railway line and the bridge over the river. The ruins of this stone blockhouse can still be seen.
Like most spots in the Central Karoo the hamlet Leeu Gamka has a wealth of stories. The tallest soldier in the British Empire Grenadier Guard Private Schultz died on an ambulance train passing through here during the Anglo-Boer War and had to be buried near the station. Gold was discovered nearby, a hotel was built and a shop across the road. In time the road fell into disuse, so they “roofed” it and it became the hotel lounge.
Leeu Gamka although a small town has a variety of accommodation options available from Guest Houses, Bed and Breakfasts to Self-catering units. There is a diverse range of activities available in and around this area, including hiking. Leeu Gamka has a good business community and provides a wide range of goods and services to its residents as well as surrounding communities.
|Leeu Gamka Tourism Office Information|
|Telephone:||+27(0)23 5411 366|