means “White Sand” and the name is derived from the colour
of the sand, which contrasts against the surrounding red Kalahari
The Proclamation of Witsand as a Nature Reserve:
The larger portion of the reserve was purchased in 1993 and the area
gained nature reserve status on proclamation in April 1994. The nature
reserve is approximately 3500ha in size, most of which comprises the
unique dune system. Although, by comparison, Witsand is a relatively
small reserve, it nevertheless has already gained popularity through
its extraordinary splendour.
Witsand has, since it’s earliest times, been the hub of human
activity because it was one of the few reliable sources of permanent
water in the region. Archaeologists have found several Stone Age sites
reflecting the changing lifestyles throughout many thousands of years.
Pottery shards and stone tools reliably dated within the seventeenth
to nineteenth centuries AD, reveal that Stone Age herders such as
the Korana used the area.
Tswana farmers also settled west of the Langberg but were forced back
eastwards by droughts and conflicts before the nineteenth century
AD. George Stow, a geologist, paid the "Wittesandt" a visit
in 1872 and reported that "the only inhabitants at present living
there are a small tribe of Bushmen" who retained "many of
their old habits and customs." White traders and farmers began
to settle along the Langberg in the late nineteenth century.
To this day the stone walls erected by the Boer rebels, en route to
the then German-occupied South West Africa (Namibia), on the high
dunes to the east of the quartzite basin are visible. One can only
imagine what thoughts have flowed through the minds and hearts of
many people throughout the ages who have gazed across the vast Northern
Cape landscape from that very vantage-point.