Victoria West is one of the older towns in the Karoo and today retains much of the charm of a bygone era. It nestles between two koppies at the junction of the N12 and R63, approximately 60km north of the N1 from Three Sisters.
In the late 1800s it was an important centre for travellers on their fortune-seeking way from the south to the diamond fields of Kimberley. Today it’s popular with tourists who come to view a range of attractions, from the Art Deco Apollo Theatre to fossilised fish in the museum, and to soak up the Karoo atmosphere. The town centre has an excited buzz about it during weekdays.
At other times the streets are as tranquil as the expansive plains that embrace it. There are plenty of good guesthouses to choose from and some nice places to eat too. Like many small Karoo towns, a visit to Victoria West is not so much about what one can see and do. It’s rather about the experience of staying here, exploring the streets and shops in town, and the incredible space surrounding it.
Look out for
The Victoria Trading Post - one can’t miss it. It’s near the old green truck parked alongside the N12 as one enters town from the south. It’s a treasure-trove of bric-à-brac.
The Mannetjies Roux Museum - adjoining the Victoria West Trading Post. This former Springbok rugby player played 27 matches for South Africa in the 1960s and was a folk hero at the time.
The Apollo Theatre - an Art Deco cinema completed in 1928 to coincide with the advent of sound in film. It was originally named the "Apollo Talkies Theatre".
The Victoria West Museum - has excellent exhibits and a good fossil display that includes a 250-million-year-old fossilised fish found locally (the Karoo was once an inland lake). This Atherstonia Seeleyi fish fossil is the most complete of its kind ever found in the world.
The Historical Walking Tour - pick up a detailed brochure from the museum and take a wander around the town.
Self-guided walking trails - (3km and 4km) that will lead up to, and beyond, a hill overlooking the town. The trails include a plant brochure (obtainable from the museum).
The Victoria West Nature Reserve - one can spot various antelope and plains game.
Bird watching - take binoculars to the picnic spot overlooking the dam just outside of town on the road to Loxton.