10 WELCOME TO THE KALAHARI REGION Vast, ancient landscapes, warm welcomes and surprises. The John Taolo Gaetsewe District Municipality features the Kalahari Tourism Region. The sun-drenched Kalahari with its endless horizons evokes memories of a land before time. Its vast, ancient landscapes and misty horizons remind us of the beginning of time. A journey from Gauteng to Namibia, or the Cape, via Upington, brings unsuspecting travellers to the gateway of this mysterious land. Kuruman is the main town in the Kalahari region and is known as the “Oasis of the Kalahari”. The town is blessed with a permanent source of water and visitors are continually fascinated by this beautiful town. To do and see: • The Eye of Kuruman, pictured, is the largest spring in the southern hemisphere and delivers 20-30 million litres of crystal-clear water daily. The calm waters are speckled with lilies and reflections from surrounding trees. • Moffat Mission: The mission is often described as the Northern Cape’s fount of Christianity, as it was a base for many ventures into the interior by missionaries. It is named after Robert Moffat and was also David Livingstone’s first home in Africa. Contact: 071 759 3407 • The home of Credo Mutwa in Magojaneng, Kuruman. He was one of South African finest prophets, a keeper of ancient traditions, sculptor, author and painter. • The Workshop Ko Kasi in Mothibistad, pictured, is a vibey meeting place, built with recycled and natural materials. Come to the kasi (local slang for township) to mingle, dine, express your creativity, enjoy a retreat or a live show, or head out on a cultural tour. Contact: 081 741 4994 SURROUNDING TOWNS • Black Rock lies 25km from Hotazel and is home to the province’s Assmang underground manganese mine. View the manganese mineral collection. Contact: +27 53 751 5228 • Wonderwerk Cave: On the R31 to Kuruman, this cave, pictured, has a history covering almost a million years and is virtually a textbook account of the evolution of humankind in South Africa. The 140-metre deep cavern has been home to many peoples throughout the ages. There is a small museum at the site. Contact: 082 222 4777 • Dibeng (first drinking place) was named by the SeTswana and is located on the banks of the dry Gamara River. The town has strong Dutch Reformed links with the congregations of Kuruman, Kathu and Olifantshoek. • Tswalu Kalahari Reserve is 71km north of Kuruman and offers a memorable Kalahari experience. Contact: +27 53 781 9331 Kathu (Sishen) is a mining town in the area and it is strategically connected by road, rail and air through Kimberley and Upington. To see and do: • Sishen iron-ore mine: Even for those only vaguely interested in great dusty holes in the earth and noisy, smoke-belching diesel machinery, a tour of the open-cast mine on the outskirts of Kathu, which is one of the biggest manmade holes in the world, is mindboggling. The sheer size of the equipment includes the biggest trucks in the world. When the pit is in full production, it uses fivemillion litres of diesel every month. Contact: +27 53 739 2900 • Sishen Golf Course: This top-20 course has hosted a Sunshine Tour event, the Sishen Classic, and is noted for its grassed fairways meandering through a forest of centuries-old camelthorn trees. Contact: +27 53 050 5727 Vanzylsrus is a popular stopover for tourists on their way to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and is surrounded by the rust-red dunes of the Kalahari and offers true Kalahari hospitality and a paradise for biltong lovers. To see and do: • Visits to the “Meerkat Manor” BBC film series project: Visit the burrows and see the “meerkat celebrities” in their natural habitat. Contact: +27 (0)53 781 0201 • Game drives: Tourists will be pleasantly surprised by the unique vegetation that exists in what looks like dry desert which blossoms into a green and lush veld during the rainy season. On game farms look out for sable and roan antelopes, black rhino, eland, springbok and the gracious gemsbok. • Bird watching: Hundreds of exotic and indigenous bird species, including the Kori Bustard (Gompou), “the heaviest flying bird on the planet”, can be seen, as well as one of the noisiest birds on our planet, the korhaan. The yellow and red-billed hornbills (also called the kok-kok) will be your beautiful morning alarm at sunrise. • Ancient Molopo: Enjoy a traditional picnic or braai in the dry river beds of this ancient historic symbol of the Kalahari about which many a song has been written. • Hiking trails: Appreciate the splendour of the indigenous Kalahari vegetation and learn more about the ways in which Bushmen have used the vegetation for traditional healing and other exciting uses. • Stargazing: The Kalahari’s vast open planes and unpolluted air are ideal for getting close to heavenly bodies. The ideal location for professional and amateur stargazers. TOURISM ROUTES The Kalahari region features three route experiences that will capture the imagination of those who dare to explore it. The incredible year-round experiences coupled with warm hospitality and the peace and tranquility offered by off-the-beaten-track towns and villages and space as far as the eye can see, will inspire unforgettable holiday memories and life-changing experiences.
11 THE ROARING KALAHARI ROUTE The sheer size and distances of the Kalahari can be intimidating, but the tourism experiences of the Roaring Kalahari Route guides visitors through this vast wilderness. The route starts in the oasis of Kuruman before heading through the tree-filled town of Kathu and northwards to Dibeng and the mining towns of Hotazel and Black Rock. It then heads to McCarthy’s Rest on the Botswana border, back down to Vanzylsrus and westward to Askham with a detour to the unforgettable Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.The next stop on the itinerary is Upington, the largest town on the route, before heading back east to Groblershoop and the Boegoeberg Dam. A stay-over at the Witsand Nature Reserve is an absolute must before you continue the journey to Griquatown and Danielskuil. Along the way visitors can visit and stay at some of the most hospitable and quaint guest houses, guest farms, resorts, parks and nature reserves in the country. Contact: +27 53 781 0201 TWO MORE TOURISM ROUTES ARE DESCRIBED ON THE PAGES THAT FOLLOW: • Forgotten Highway Route • Gho Ghaap Route CONTACT DETAILS: Northern Cape Tourism Authority Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Kuruman Tourism: +27 53 712 8816 John Taolo Gaetsewe Tourism: +27 53 712 1479