Askham is located about 180km north of Upington, on the road to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, making it an ideal refuelling spot and rest stop for those en route to the conservation area.
Although it is in the southern Kalahari wilderness and is the starting point for the Kalahari Red Dune Route, the village is actually situated in the green belt surrounding the Orange River.
Askham is part of the Dawid Kruiper Local Municipality, which is named after one of the indigenous leaders in this area that has traditionally been home to San, Koranna and Nama people. Their descendants still live and trade their traditional wares and handicrafts here. The area is an ideal base from which to experience authentic San culture and traditions, benefiting local communities in the process.
The village itself, according to local legend, was either named after a town on the Irish coast or was derived from a farmer saying, “Ask him,” referring a query to the settlement’s founder, Scottish land surveyor Roger Jackson.
Askham developed around a school boarding house that was built in 1931 and, like many other Northern Cape towns, a Dutch Reformed Church that still serves the greater Kalahari region. The local police station was once a breeding station for camels (up to 400 at a time) that were dispatched for police patrols across the Kalahari.
4x4 drives and game drives
Vinkie’s Kalahari Experience, based in Askham, is among the tour operators that can assist you with activities such as bow-and-arrow shooting, traditional games, 4x4 routes, game drives, birdwatching, visiting heritage sites, and sundowners on the dunes or at the local pan.
Kalahari Desert Festival
The Kalahari Desert Festival is usually held every year at the //Uruke Bush Camp on the farm Witdraai, just outside Askham. To celebrate the indigenous cultures of the Kalahari peoples, local guides offer storytelling sessions, demonstrate how they gather medicinal plants, and teach traditional skills such as archery, and arts and crafts.
San Information Centre
Pop in here to find out more about how you can meet and learn from members of the Askham/Andriesvale San community.
The information centre offers San cultural tours and guided walks with San trackers, where you can learn basic tracking skills and find out about the local flora and fauna, and how the San live in harmony with their natural environment.
It’s a rare opportunity to interact with the descendants of one of Southern Africa’s earliest hunter-gatherer communities. At the information centre, you can also shop for San curios and handicrafts. Call +27 (0)54 311 0053 for more details.
Sandboarding/dune boarding/dune surfing
There are ample opportunities for sandboarding down the red Kalahari dunes, at places such as the Rooiduin Guest Farm. Take a dune board and whizz down the red sandy slopes for an exhilarating outdoor activity that’s ideal for families.