Tree of prayer
During 1918 Keimoes, along with the rest of the country, was in the grip of the Spanish influenza. The disease was highly contagious.For fear of infection all indoor gatherings were stopped. The Dutch Reformed Church held its services under this tree in front of Keimoes high School. Since then it has been known as the prayer tree. The tree is a magnificent specimen of the Camel Thorn (Acacia erioloba), widely found in the Kalahari. When dried, the branches make excellent firewood. The tree is currently on the list of endangered species and it is forbidden to chop them down.Pulpit of wild olive wood – Dutch Reformed Church
The Dutch Reformed Church on the opposite side of the street is said to boast the only pulpit made out of the wood of the wild olive tree in the country, perhaps in the whole world. Frikkie Loxton, a member of the Dutch Reformed Mission Church donated the wood for the pulpit and about twenty farmers sawed them next to the river at Loxtonvale.
A Mr Laker built the pulpit in Paarl. Extreme care was taken to work with the grain of the wood and keep it looking lively. On the pulpit it actually gives the impression of long, burning candles. The church was inaugurated in 1951.RC Mission station and mill
Coming from Upington, one turns left at the traffic light and continues about 1km to reach the Roman Catholic Mission station and mill. Roman Catholic Mission has been running the mill in Keimoes since 1915, while the church itself with its school has played an active role in the community life. The school opened its doors in 1913.
The Keimoes mission was the result of a trip by bishop Simon, from Pella, who traveled to Keimoes in 1909 and bought 4 morgen of land from the government. The Church was built in 1925.Tierberg
Continuing past the mission station one crosses a bridge before reaching a turn-off to the right – Tierberg. This prominent hill about 2km to the south east of the town, with the name “Keimoes” written on the hillside, provides a spectacular 360 degrees view over the Orange River valley.
One can see the lush delta with patches of green vineyards. The surrounding arid hills form a stark contrast, which gives meaning to the tourism region of the Green Kalahari. Tierberg also boasts a nature garden with aloes and small game.Date trees in the main street
With date trees and vineyards in the main street it is clear that agriculture forms the backbone of the economy of Keimoes. The dates on these trees are actually harvested annually. The story is told that the Keimoes local government has always been very careful with spending money.
In 1946 a municipal official, DJ Roux, asked permission to harvest the dates on the common ground near the Wilhelm Frank house. The requested was granted, but when council member realized that Roux sold the dates, they reversed the decision and sold the dates themselves.Old Dutch Reformed Mission Church
This building near the center of town was built in 1889 and used as a place of worship by the Dutch Reformed Mission Church. In 1978 it was declared a national monument. Soon after that it was bought by the Keimoes Municipality and transformed into a museum. The Dutch Reformed Mission Church ministered the so-called coloured people of Keimoes. The Church saw as its task, beyond the spiritual well being of its members, the education of children as most important. In 1958 it had ten schools under its management.The Water Wheel
This replica of the traditional water wheel used to get water onto the irrigation lands, was declared a national monument in 1978. In olden days it would be a serious problem if the streams dried up. Residents would have to dig in the riverbeds for water. Efforts were always made to keep the channels running, and water wheels were used to pump water. Almost every house had its own water wheel – mostly hand made out of wood and very often out of order. The upkeep was an ongoing task. Later on Tinkie Crail made a water wheel out of steel, which worked on a different principle. Water from the channels was also used for residential purposes.
It would be left to stand with peach pip or alum in, and then cooked. Just east of the RC Mission Mr Hansie Kruger had a small water wheel, which made good speed in the steep, fast running channel. He actually charged his own and his neighbour’s batteries with it!Municipal Buildings
Since 2000 Keimoes forms part of the Kai !Garib Municipality, which also includes Kakamas and Kenhardt. Although the municipality has its head office in Kakamas, services are rendered from the neat offices in Keimoes. The name Kai !Garib refers to the “big river” – the heart of the area.Produce of the region
Farm stalls in and around Keimoes offer the best that the region has. Fresh dates, grapes in season, dried fruit in all shapes and sizes as well as products from farm kitchens like jams and chutney. Other curios like semi precious stones found in the area and hand crafted items are also available.New Roman Catholic Church
This church in Gardenia has been built according to an overseas plan. The beautiful stained glass windows were saved from a church in Holland, which had to be demolished. It was imported all the way to Keimoes, where it now lends a special atmosphere to the church.Informal settlement the Keimoes way
Every town has its informal settlement. In most cases this would be a drab place with shacks built out of corrugated iron and plastic sheets. Not in Keimoes. The Keimoes municipality encouraged residents to use the traditional method of making screens out of reeds. The se screens are then plastered on the inside. The result is a village that reminds one of a holiday farm.
The reeds offer much better ventilation in the hot, dry summer than would corrugated iron. It is also freely available, which reduces building cost. Most residents further take trouble to cultivate their own vegetables or grapes and they even make even flower beds.Congregational Church
One of the biggest church buildings in Keimoes is that of the Congregational Church. This denomination played an important role in the history of especially the so-called coloured people from Keimoes. Rev Saul Damon who served the congregation from 1933 to 1949 urged church members to save and tried to help them gain economic independence.
Under his leadership the church bought land, which so-called coloured farmers could rent, and farm on. This prevented that members were removed under apartheids laws. The farms of Soverby, Currieskamp and a part of Geelkop were thus managed.Orange River Wine Cellars
These cellars to the north of the town were built in 1970. It is one of five cellars of the Orange River Wine Cellars Co-op – the second largest wine co-op in the world.
Visitors are welcome for wine tasting.Suspension bridges
In olden days, a network of suspension bridges used to link the islands. A few of them are still in use. In fact, the pupils of Klip Island School have to cross this bridge every day to get to class. Quite a nerve racking experience when the river is in flood. At one stage sixty of these bridges provided the necessary infratructure for farmers to bring their produce to the markets.
If one takes into account that such a bridge can only bear 100lb of weight at one stage, it becomes clear that farming and transport of freight between the islands must have been no easy task.