Van Rhynsdorp (Afrikaans: Vanrhynsdorp) is a settlement in West Coast District Municipality in the Western Cape province of South Africa.

Van Rhynsdorp
Dutch Reformed Church in Van Rhynsdorp
Dutch Reformed Church in Van Rhynsdorp
Van Rhynsdorp is located in Western Cape
Van Rhynsdorp
Van Rhynsdorp
Van Rhynsdorp is located in South Africa
Van Rhynsdorp
Van Rhynsdorp
Van Rhynsdorp is located in Africa
Van Rhynsdorp
Van Rhynsdorp
Coordinates: 31°37′S 18°44′E / 31.617°S 18.733°E / -31.617; 18.733Coordinates: 31°37′S 18°44′E / 31.617°S 18.733°E / -31.617; 18.733
CountrySouth Africa
ProvinceWestern Cape
DistrictWest Coast
 • Total5.99 km2 (2.31 sq mi)
 • Total6,272
 • Density1,000/km2 (2,700/sq mi)
Racial makeup (2011)
 • Black African6.9%
 • Coloured71.9%
 • Indian/Asian0.4%
 • White19.7%
 • Other1.0%
First languages (2011)
 • Afrikaans95.3%
 • English1.6%
 • Xhosa1.2%
 • Other1.8%
Time zoneUTC+2 (SAST)
Postal code (street)
PO box
Area code027

Van Rhynsdorp was founded as Trutro ("TroeTroe") after the area was first explored by Europeans in 1661 by Pieter van Meerhoff.[2] The Troe-Troe Zending ("Mission") dates to the 1751 completion of the Trutro Homestead which is still standing at Van Rhynsdorp.[2] The name of the town was changed to Van Rhynsdorp (in Afrikaans, Vanrhynsdorp) in 1881.[2]

A significant proportion of Van Rhynsdorp's indigenous Khoe population are victims of alcoholism as a result of the European colonists “dop system” where historically the European colonists created apartheid to evict the indigenous Khoe from their own lands; European colonist farmers later paid their indigenous Khoe farm workers with alcohol and subsequent generations continued this cycle. The Khoe people are recognised, along with the San, as being the earliest residents of South Africa and are in fact the oldest people on Earth.

The town is located at the edge of the Nama Karoo, an area of semi-desert succulent vegetation.[3] The mountains around the town were populated by the San people, a group of late stone age hunter-gatherers. Examples of rock art exist dating from this period exist in the area.[2]

The Steenkampskraal rare earth mineral deposit lies 80 km to the north east of the town in nearby Namaqualand.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d "Main Place Vanrhynsdorp". Census 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d Van Rhynsdorp, SA Places. Retrieved 2012-05-06.
  3. ^ Van Rhynsdorp, Cape West Coast, SA venues. Retrieved 2012-05-06.
  4. ^ "'Steenkampskraal deposit". Retrieved 21 January 2011.