12 TOURISM GO! GHAAP ROUTE Discover white and red sand dunes, an oasis and a wonder cave. Main centres: Dibeng (Deben), Kathu, Daniëlskuil, Kuruman, Postmasburg, Griquatown, Campbell, Olifantshoek. Formerly known as the Griqualand West region, the route comprises a series of heritage sites, including some dating back three-billion years, as well as the Witsand Nature Reserve, with its white sand dunes standing in stark contrast to the surrounding red Kalahari sand dunes. The Ghaap falls within the Savannah biome in the south while the northern areas begin to be absorbed into the Kalahari biome. The heart-shaped Ghaap Plateau is a main attraction in the region, situated in the central interior of the Northern Cape. The plateau is about 1 130m above sea level and extends about 150km from east to west between the Harts River Valley and the Kuruman Hills. Boreholes have revealed the existence of rich underground water resources, which contributed to development in the region. There is a lot to do on the Go! Ghaap Route, including learning about the various ethnic groupings who have called this area home, including the San, Tswana and Griqua people – and, in the 1800s, the missionaries, explorers and travellers who once roamed this vast region. This area played a unique and critical role in South Africa’s history. NATURAL SPLENDOUR Known as the “oasis of the Kalahari”, Kuruman is an interesting destination for the curious traveller to visit, not least because of the Eye of Kuruman, which delivers thousands of litres of fresh water daily. The Wonderwerk Cave is an archaeological wonder believed to be at least two-billion years old. The large cave is located 45km south of Kuruman and 43km north of Daniëlskuil. Research conducted by archaeologists at the cave, which extends 140m horizontally into the base of the Kuruman Hills, suggests the presence of early human activity. The Kuruman Hills are also worth visiting when touring this route. They are known for their large quantities of blue asbestos or crocidolite, which prompted mining in the Ghaap region from the 1930s until 1980. This was halted after the serious and often deadly health risks of asbestos mining were discovered. CULTURE AND LEISURE The cultural camp in Paulshoek offers insights into the lives of the people who live in the area. Matjieshuts (portable tents of the Khoi people) and traditional meals are available on request. Here visitors will gain insight into how these people moved according to seasons to find better grazing grounds for their herds of livestock, disassembling their matjieshuts and reassembling them again in fertile soil for the animals to thrive. Kgalagadi Jazz Festival: The Kgalagadi Jazz Festival is a highly anticipated music festival that takes place at the Mothibistad Stadium in Kuruman every year. The festival puts the province firmly on the map with a line-up that features local legends on the jazz music scene. Contact: +27 60 840 2943 or visit the Kgalagadi Jazz Festival Facebook page.
13 TOURISM FORGOTTEN HIGHWAY ROUTE The Forgotten Highway Route retraces the steps of ancient forbears and explorers, missionaries and diamond prospectors. Kuruman marks the northern end of a new and exciting route that tracks the journeys made by adventurous travellers over several centuries. The 1 000km route stretches from Tulbagh and Ceres in the Western Cape to the administrative capital of the John Taolo District Municipality in the north. It is the route that was used by the !Xam, KhoeKhoe, Tswana and missionaries. From Kuruman, travellers would plan their ventures further north into central Africa. This new heritage route offers a confluence of cultures and experiences. Explore famous archaeological sites, historic towns, amazing architecture and a selection of nature and game reserves. Visitors can trace the early geological history which created vast mineral wealth like iron, manganese, diamonds and limestone. Follow in the footsteps of the early explorers and missionaries such as David Livingstone, Henry Stanley and Richard Moffat. Relive the Anglo-Tswana and Anglo-Boer Wars and explore the Wonderwerk Caves near Kuruman. After the indigenous people and the missionaries came the prospectors, eager to get as quickly as possible to the diamond fields of Kimberley. Every kind of conceivable good was carried along the route, sufficient to turn Kimberley into one of the busiest places in the southern hemisphere and to create traffic jams of wagons along the route. Two events of 1877 spelt the end of the road through Karoopoort as a route of choice: the railway line to the north reached Touwsriver and a new pass over the Cedarberg gave direct access to the Karoo. The project to recover and restore the route was undertaken by the Karoo Development Foundation, which achieved its first landmark success in 2015 when Karoo lamb was registered as a Geographic Indicator. TO SEE AND DO: • Kuruman Eye: A natural spring delivering about 20-million litres of clear water daily to Kuruman. • Moffat Museum, pictured: Named after Robert Moffat, a Scottish missionary who lived and worked here from 1820 to 1870. He translated the Bible into Setswana. It was also renowned explorer David Livingstone’s first home in Africa. • Hotel Kgalagadi: A visit is a must to view their impressive collection of vintage cars. • Workshop Ko Kasi: A modern-day township experience near Mothibistad. Less than 200km to the south of Kuruman and located in the neighbouring Northern Cape District Municipality of Pixley ka Seme, the town Griekwastad is famous as a founding location of the Griqua nation and the grave of Andries Waterboer can be visited. The Mary Moffat Museum is named for the daughter of the famous missionary Robert, giving the family the rather unique distinction of having two museums named for them. The nearby Witsand Nature Reserve is a popular destination. NORTHERN CAPE TOURISM AUTHORITY Email: email@example.com John Taolo Gaetsewe Tourism: +27 53 712 1479 The Forgotten Highway Route: 071 401 2583