Beaufort West (bōˈfərt) [key], town and local municipality (2011 pop. 49,296), Western Cape prov., S South Africa, in the Great Karroo. The town, which is the seat of the local municipality, has some light industry and is the trade and distribution center for nearby farms where sheep, grain, and fruit are raised. It is also a resort. Beaufort West was founded in 1818 and in 1837 became the first municipality in South Africa. The local municipality also includes the township of KwaMandlenkosi and village of Merweville.