Norvalspont is a little town on the southern bank of the Orange River, and the road and railway bridges have always been its major reason for existence. Its main tourism facility is the Glasgow Pont Hotel. During the Anglo-Boer War, the railway station was an important transport site. The most prominent historical legacy of Norvalspont is the concentration camp, located just east of Norvalspont.
The Norvalspont railway bridge
Three sections of the railway bridge were blown up by the Boers in March 1900 to slow the British advance. The British military engineers managed to repair the railway quite quickly, and the British offensive continued north in March 1900. Some of the remains of the bridge pillars can still be seen in the river today.
Directions to the bridge:
From Gariep Dam: Stay on the R701 which passes the Gariep Dam entrance. Continue past the town (which is on your left), until you reach a sign to Norvalspont - turn right. This road goes across the bridge.
From Colesberg or Venterstad (the R58): Turn towards Norvalspont, go past the hotel, and you will reach the bridge.
This is also the boundary between the Free State and the Northern Cape Province.
GPS: -30.621169, 25.464588
But at your own risk, so watch your step!
The old bridge was blown up by the Boers
A dramatic sight
Norvalspont Concentration Camp
Nothing remains of the Norvalspont concentration camp. The cemetery was redone many years later, and it has a central memorial.
Norvalspont was one of the best managed concentration camps, with a relatively low death rate. Generally, the residents kept themselves busy and were allowed to go down to the river and collect wood in the vicinity of the camp.
Alongside Norvalpont Camp was a camp for black people, some of whom were probably employed on the railways.
How to get there: From the R58 (Colesberg-Norvalspont-Venterstad): From the Norvalspont turnoff, travel 1km in the Ventersburg direction, then turn right into a gravel road (it is well signposted), i.e. to the south. Travel about 1 km along the gravel road, and the cemetery will be on your left. GPS: -30.644941, 25.456136.
Entrance to the cemetery
Life in the camp
A neat and orderly tent town
The empty site today