|District municipality||Central Karoo|
|Local municipality||Beaufort West|
|Time zone||SAST (UTC+2)|
The original inhabitants of the area were the San, whose rock paintings and engravings still adorn the stones in the hills around Nelspoort.
The actual town of Nelspoort had its origins nearly a century later, when a young Anglo-Italian immigrant, John Molteno, arrived and established a farming business by that name. Over the next few years he built it into an enormous estate, before moving to Cape Town and becoming the first Prime Minister of the Cape Colony. Geared towards wool exports, much of the region continued to be farmed by his family (up until 1944) and the Nelspoort farm itself became the nucleus for the growing town.
During the Anglo-Boer War, the British built hundreds of blockhouses in the area to protect their prime railway link, and in 1920 a Sanatorium was opened nearby for patients suffering from Tuberculosis and other pulmonary illnesses. This institution was located here to take advantage of the dry, clean, fresh air of the Karoo mountains, and provided employment for many local villagers. It was a huge success that produced excellent results, with visitors including even the likes of the British royal family. By the 1970s though, tuberculosis was in decline and the sanatorium eventually closed. 
Recently, a change in the route of both the N1 highway (the largest road in the country) and the Cape's main Railway line, have meant that the town has been deprived of a large percentage of its income and has consequently shrunk.
- Encyclopedia of Southern Africa. 1967. Rosenthal
- P. A. Molteno: The life and times of Sir John Charles Molteno. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1900
- Oppad in Suid-Afrika. BPJ Erasmus. 1995 ISBN 1-86842-026-4
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