Vioolsdrift (Afrikaans: Vioolsdrif) is situated on the N7 on the southern banks of the Orange River which forms the border to Namibia. Once a lone Nama man lived here, whose name was Jan Viool. He would guide travellers through the river at the shallowest part called a "drif", hence the name "Vioolsdrif". Only in 1956 the bridge was built across the river, linking Vioolsdrift to the Namibian border town of Noordoewer on the northern banks of the Orange. From then on the N7 from Cape Town to Windhoek became the most important traffic artery between South Africa and Namibia.
Despite its importance for the traffic between both countries, the border town stayed small. Besides the police station and the customs quarters, there is not much more than a petrol station and a shop for the basics, just like in the sister town of Noordoewer. In the vicinity of Vioolsdrift, there are a couple of farms bordering on the Orange river. They mainly grow vegetables under irrigation using water from the river.
The reason for the lack of development and settlement might be found in the extreme climate. In the narrow valley of the Orange, which lies almost at sea level and is lined by bizarre rock massifs the heat is blazing in summer with temperatures often rise above 40 C.