The Northern Cape is fast becoming the definitive destination for speed lovers. Not only will the province be hosting the Bloodhound world land speed record attempt at Hakskeenspan in 2014 and 2015, but it has also become a mecca for unique racing events in a class of their own.
Following the huge success of the inaugural Kalahari Desert Speedweek at Hakskeenpan last year, the organisers have added another event with a twist this year, namely the ground-breaking Kalahari All-Tar Speedweek. This event will take place at the Upington Airport with its incredible 5.5km runway from 27 – 30 April and will be the first all-tar event of its kind in South Africa.
Boasting one of the longest runways in the world, Upington Airport can land a fully loaded Boeing 747, the now defunct Concorde as well as a space shuttle, which makes it the ideal venue for a four-day speed fest. Cars and bikes are welcome to take up the challenge, which will be a timed race with timing at the 4km mark followed by a 1,5km run-off.
The wheels will start spinning on Saturday, 27 April, during the Nissan SA press day, which will be open to spectators. The next three days will see non-stop racing action as entrants try to push their vehicles to the limit.
According to Dianna Martin, General Manager: Marketing and Communications of the Northern Cape Tourism Authority, the Speedweek events are yet another confirmation that the province is fast becoming the ultimate destination for adrenaline pursuits. “The Northern Cape has positioned itself as a mecca for outdoor adventures and during the past couple of years we have continuously attracted and successfully hosted prominent events of world-class quality. Events included canoe marathons, sprint trails, MTB endurance races and skateboarding world championships amongst others and we are confident that both versions of the Kalahari Speedweek will definitely add to our profile and once again attract a new market segment to the province,” explains Martin.
As the capital of the Green Kalahari region, Upington offer visitors a wide choice of accommodation facilities, tourism attractions and activities. Some red-letter items to include on any travel itinerary are wine tastings at Orange River Cellars, the second largest wine co-operative in the world, a sunset cruise down the Orange River on Sakkie se Arkie, river rafting at Khamkirri or enjoy tastings and an al fresco breakfast or lunch at Bezalel wine and brandy estate, a world-class producer of fine premium brandy and boutique wines. Another must-see destination is the world-renowned Augrabies Falls National Park with its thundering falls and sheer granite cliffs and a 4x4 visit to the settlement of Riemvasmaak. This conservancy was settled on the rural community includes hot springs, accommodation in rustic chalets with traditional entertainment and catering available on request. The Quiver Tree Food & Wine Route stretches from Upington to Augrabies and is the ideal way to explore the unique history, culture and cuisine of the local people. For a traditional taste sensation, visit the Blucuso Community Tourist trust for freshly baked roosterkoek served with jam, butter and blended coffee. Upington Airport also offers easy aerial access from Cape Town and Johannesburg.
The original Kalahari Desert Speedweek was styled on the legendary Bonneville Speedweek and offered local racing enthusiasts the opportunity of a lifetime. The event allowed drivers of different classes of vehicles and motorcycles ranging from pre-war classics to modern-day supercars and superbikes the chance to set the fastest speed in the desert. The next edition of this epic event will take place from 14 – 23 September at Hakskeenpan.