!Xaus Logde is the only fully-catered luxury lodge within the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. Set on red dunes in the heart of this wilderness, you can sit on your deck overlooking a large pan and watch as the animals drink at the waterhole below. The lodge is run by a private concessionaire on land that was returned to the Khomani San and Mier communities.
The Orange River Valley is home to several cellars and wineries situated in Upington, Kakamas, Keimoes, Grootdrink and Groblershoop. The grapes originate from 796 producers along the Orange River, which stretch over more than 300km from Groblershoop to Blouputs. The cellars and wineries offer an extensive range of wines from dry white to natural sweet and dry red as well as award-winning dessert wines and brandies. Boutique wineries include Bezalel Brandy and Wine Estate, Die Mas Wine Cellars and co-operatives Orange River Wine Cellars and further south Griqua Wine Cellars near Douglas.
For an exhilarating experience, tackle the Orange River in inflatable rafts or canoes. The banks of the Orange River create a stark contrast to the hot and arid landscape of the Richtersveld. The gently flowing river keeps you cool during the heat of the day, making this the ideal getaway for friends, family or team building. Numerous companies offer river adventures ranging from 4 – 6 days. Camping sites are erected on the banks of the river.
The Vanderkloof dam is the second biggest dam with the highest dam wall in South Africa and a holiday resort ideally suited to families. When the dam is full, it stretches to 100km in length and is perfect for most watersports including sailing, skiing and windsurfing. Dam tours can be undertaken, giving an insight into the history and workings of the dam. On the north western shore is the 6 200 hectare Rolfontein Nature Reserve. The reserve is home to eland, gemsbok, red hartebeest, Burchell’s zebra, kudu, springbok, grey duiker, bat-eared fox, baboon, vervet monkey, aardvark and aardwolf.
The vibrant town of Upington is the second biggest town in the province and the centre of a strong agricultural community. The entrance to the Eiland Holiday resort features an avenue of date palms measuring 1041 metres, which makes it one of the densest and longest palm avenues in the Southern Hemisphere. Upington airport has three runways, the primary one measuring 4,900 metres (the longest civilian runway in the Southern Hemisphere and one of the few able to land a space shuttle) and offer connecting flights to Cape Town and Johannesburg.
The only tram service in South Africa runs several times a day between the City Hall and the Mine Museum in Kimberley.
This vintage tram – introduced in 1887 – was refurbished to enhance the tourist experience of historical Kimberley. Its route between the City Hall and the Big Hole includes historical buildings and places of interest. Tel 053 832 7298.
From the earliest humans, people have wondered about the planets, the stars, the galaxies and the Universe itself. New telescopes have almost always revealed things that we had not imagined.
Astronomy allows us to see back in time, because the light waves from very distant stars or galaxies take a long time to travel through space to our telescopes, so we see them as they were a very long time ago. Now with MeerKAT’ most powerful telescopes ever, scientist can see back to before the first stars and galaxies were formed.
South Africa, with eight African countries as partners, and Australia have been picked as the sites to host the SKA. Carnarvon in the Karoo, Northern Cape was chosen as the core site. The first seven dishes, KAT-7, are complete and have already produced its first pictures. MeerKAT is attracting great interest internationally – more than 500 international astronomers and 58 from Africa submitted proposals to do work with MeerKAT once it is complete. Site visits can be arranged by prior arrangement please call Lynley Merrington on 021 506 or email [email protected] or visit www.ska.ac.za
At Sutherland, fans of astronomy will find the best star-gazing on earth at the South African Astronomical Observatory where visitors can book tours to experience the dramatic grandeur of the galaxy.
Best accessed with a 4×4 vehicle, the rugged rocky scenery seems as if it is from another planet. This spectacular area with its towering granite canyons is owned and run by the community of Riemvasmakers. It was one of the first land restitution projects in South Africa and has much to offer the intrepid traveller. Besides 4×4 adventures, visitors can enjoy bathing in a natural outdoor hot spring, absailing, river rafting, san rock art viewing and guided tours. Traditional dances and meals can be arranged and accommodation is in comfortable chalets that are perched on the edge of cliff walls.
About 8km south of Kenhardt on the main route to Cape Town is a quiver tree (kokerboom) forest made up of between 4000 – 5 000 quiver trees. The Kokerboom Hiking Trail winds through this unusual forest.