Hondeklip Bay is a coastal village in the Namakwa district of theNorthern Cape province of South Africa. It lies about 95 km south west of the district capital Springbok.
This translates to Hondeklipbaai in Afrikaans, which means dog stone bay. The village is named after a huge rock which is shaped like a dog and guards over the sleepy Namaqua town.
Hondeklip Bay was originally used as a harbour to export copper ore from the mines around Springbok but was later surpassed by Port Nolloth, which had a safer harbour as well as a railway line.
Today Hondeklip Bay is a popular regional holiday destination and serves the fishing and diamond-mining community.
Hondeklip Bay was formerly a favoured holiday destination for fishermen, divers and farmers. Nowadays, holiday makers from all over the country enjoy their holidays here.
Hondeklip Bay lies about 95 km Southwest of Springbok and can be reached by different routes, the Messelpad, the Wildeperdehoekpas, through Soebatsfontein, or Kamieskroon, or from Garies. However, it usually takes about two hours to reach the town.
South of Hondeklip Bay lies what remains of the wreck of the Aristea, which was built in Scotland as a fishing vessel. In 1934, the Aristea served as a minesweeper during World War 2. Tragically, the Aristea ran aground on 4 July 1945 on its maiden voyage as trawler. Fortunately, there was only one loss of life.
In 1685, Governor Simon van der Stel discovered the Namaqua region’s rich copper ores. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a suitable export harbour, until 1846 when Thomas Grace, a ship captain, discovered a small, natural harbour. He named the village after the granite rock that guards like a dog over the town: Hondeklip Bay.
Copper mines began production in 1850 – 1852. These mines used Hondeklip Bay as the most suitable harbour and the first 11 ton copper ores were shipped from Hondeklip Bay to Wallis with the Bosphorus in 31 August 1852.
In 1862 Hondeklip Bay was declared a magistrate’s district and Arthur Richard Orpen was the first magistrate.
Only 9 years later in 1871, the decision was made to use the safer, more accessible harbour in Port Nolloth to export copper and from then on, the ores were shipped via Port Nolloth.
The population of the town was 200 in 1837 and it fell to only 103 in 1875 with only 12 houses and 11 huts remaining.
During 1925 a factory was built in Hondeklip Bay to process lobster and fish. The sources of fish and lobster was so depleted by 1997 that the factory was forced to close its doors.
Diamond mining started in Hondeklip Bay in 1970 and from 1974 until 2003, Transhex operated a diamond mine in Hondeklip Bay. Many areas are still under rehabilitation to restore the local fauna and flora to the mining areas.
In 2007 the University of Stellenbosch launched a pilot project to breed abalone. This project has gone from strength to strength with many local scientists and students visiting the abalone breeding facility.