Experience the Northern Cape, South Africa

Billions of grains of sand, fine and deep red in colour, dotted with light-green and yellow shrubs, forming one dune after the other as far as the eye can see … this is the southern Kalahari. Now imagine looking out over this landscape, sipping on a glass of the Northern Cape’s finest wine as the sun starts to set, adding first an orange glow, and later swirls of pink, purple and dark blue to the sky.

That is exactly what you can expect when going for a sundowner with Vinkie’s Kalahari Experience, one of the tourist establishments on the province's Kalahari Red Dune Route.

Red Dune Route Sunset Form Erin Game Ranch
The colours of the Kalahari. (Image: Northern Cape Tourism Authority)

They also offer cultural tours and tracking experiences with the San on the ‡Khomani San community’s Erin Game Ranch on the R31 road between Askham and Andriesvale. At the entrance to the game ranch, you’ll find Aunt Koera’s Farm Kitchen, where you can stop for a glass of ice-cold home-made ginger beer and roosterkoek, traditional bread grilled on a fire.

Red Dune Route Meerkat Cropped
Cuteness overload – a meerkat at Kalahari Trails. (Image: Northern Cape Tourism Authority)

The Kalahari Red Dune Route includes several tourist attractions along the R31 and R360 roads in the area south of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, bordering both Namibia and Botswana.

Other highlights on the route are sandboarding or horse riding on the red dunes at Rooiduin Guest Farm & Kalahari Extreme Adventure (image at the top) and meeting meerkats at ethologist Prof. Anne Rasa’s wildlife reserve and meerkat sanctuary, Kalahari Trails. Both these attractions lie on the R360 road between Askham and the transfrontier park.

If you’re a keen wildlife photographer and safari lover, the transfrontier park, which stretches across the northernmost tip of the province and into neighbouring Botswana, should definitely be on your itinerary.

A combination of red dunes (the colour is attributed to the high iron oxide content of the sand) and stretches of white sand provides the perfect backdrop for taking pictures of the wildlife and birdlife in the park. The park is home to lion, leopard, cheetah, the African wildcat, giraffe, spotted hyena, gemsbok, springbok, kudu, eland, blue wildebeest and the oh-so-adorable meerkat.

Although some roads in the southern part of the park can be driven in a sedan, a 4x4 with high ground clearance is recommended. There are several self-drive routes available but you can also book a guided early-morning or sunset game drive.

  • The Kalahari Red Dune Route is perfect for exploring on your own, or you can opt for one of several packages available – from a four-day glamping, five-day culture and cuisine or six-day 4x4 adventure, to a four-day backpacking and six-day premier experience. Email rooiduinroete@hotmail.co.za or phone +27 (0)82 492 3469.
Gemsbok In Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
Gemsbok in a row at the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. (Image: Northern Cape Tourism Authority)