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I Love Kathu Because …
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I Love Kathu Because …

Hi, we're Elfie and Lezanne from Kathuhari Guesthouse in Kathu in Kalahari, Northern Cape. KATHU IS BEST KNOWN FOR the huge mining industry in the Northern Cape and of course our famous Camelthorn forest.  The forest is only one of two in the world and has awareded protected status by the government. GET YOUR PICTURE TAKEN AT standing next to the huge trucks at the shell garage when you enter Kathu from the N14.  these are old and Kumba Iron ore (old Sishen) have much bigger ones now. THE BEST PICTURES CAN BE TAKEN on the Sishen Golf Course where lots of wedding and family picture...
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All roads lead to Colesberg…
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All roads lead to Colesberg…

Colesberg lies along that section of the N1 highway that belongs to typical little Northern Cape towns like Hanover, Bethulie, Springfontein, De Aar and Trompsburg. It's the part of the highway where I begin to nod off if not driving, and to daydream if I am. It's the section of the N1 that tends to pass in a blur, somewhere en route to the halfway mark of the central Karoo and Beaufort West. But Colesbergers think their town worthy of a stop. Their tourist brochures and documents speak about 'having arrived' when you are in Colesberg. 'All roads lead to Colesberg' they say, as the town ...
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Visit Richmond – You Don’t Need To Be A Book Nut, But It Helps If You Are
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Visit Richmond – You Don’t Need To Be A Book Nut, But It Helps If You Are

The little town of Richmond lies in the middle of the Karoo of the Northern Cape, roughly four hours away from Bloemfontein, its slightly shaggy main street lined with period 19th century architecture, much of it restored, the upper reaches of which form a tunnel of book stores. Richmond is a book town. The only one on the African continent. And a book town of note. If you are an avid book fan, my advice to you is that you set aside at least two days for a visit. And if you really want to indulge, time your visit with one of the annual book festivals. From the N1 there seems nothing ...
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Where have all the flowers gone? Flowers out of season in Nieuwoudtville
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Where have all the flowers gone? Flowers out of season in Nieuwoudtville

Sanna and a few of her co-workers are sitting in the shade of a large warehouse that, when it is peak production time, is probably filled with trays of bulbs. They're all in royal blue overalls and beginning to think about packing up to go home when we show up. They appear to toss a coin for who gets to show us around, not literally of course, but there is a subtle conference during which Sanna stands slowly, and smilingly tells us she will take us through the nursery. Nieuwoudtville is famous for its bulbs. But when the bulbs aren't in bloom and you're visiting out of flower season, where ...
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Louriesfontein and Calvinia – sommer net passing through
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Louriesfontein and Calvinia – sommer net passing through

'Just what is so important that it warrants a drive through to Louriesfontein?' my other half comments dubiously whilst thumbing through his recent acquisition - a book brimming over with the plant types we can hope to see around Nieuwoudtville – millions of them. My windmills cannot compete, or can they? 'A windmill museum', I inform him, with as much 'ta da' as I can muster. I've seen photographs of the array of eccentrically stacked windmills in the yard of a church in Louriesfontein, and I want to go – think of the photo moments. Besides which, it isn't that far from our accommodation. ...
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A farm in Nieuwoudtville – Quiver trees, remoteness and skies like never before …
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A farm in Nieuwoudtville – Quiver trees, remoteness and skies like never before …

Where the Hantam Karoo meets Cape fynbos is a little hamlet of a village called Nieuwoudtville. From mid-July until September the town annually hums as it plays host to the flower season - the time of year when bulbs deliver the goods and blossom forth, producing some of the most gorgeous flowers in the country. We make it there just after the flower season. Despite this there is much to enjoy. We head out of town to stay on a farm just beyond the waterfall, en route to Loeriesfontein. It is windy, overcast and cold when we arrive, despite my expectations that the Northern Cape will be hot ...
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Nieuwoudtville – the town famous for its bulbs reveals itself
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Nieuwoudtville – the town famous for its bulbs reveals itself

The road to Nieuwoudtville is filled with unexpected surprises. For one, it rests on a plateau – sort of – called the Bokkeveld Plateau. You leave Vanrhynsdorp via the R27, which, after heading due north in a very straight line through the type of vegetation I would have described as the true Karoo (it is the Hantam Karoo), takes one up Vanrhyns Pass. Take the pass and its myriad hair pin bends faster than 70 kilometres an hour at your peril. We were lucky that there was no mist or rain when we ascended, but on days when there is little visibility, I can imagine that Vanrhyns could be p...
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Kgalagadi – two day wilderness trail that will leave you changed
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Kgalagadi – two day wilderness trail that will leave you changed

If you're into rugged holidays like taking on the Otter Trail then the two-night, guided (for obvious reasons as meeting a lion on the path might not be everyone's idea of 'fun') !Xerry wilderness trail in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park will no doubt appeal. We're talking real 'back to nature' stuff here with open-air toilets, only a thorn-bush fence between you and those predators at night, and a traipse through the red sands of the Kalahari that will leave you both invigorated and tired, but overwhelmed by the magic of the place... You will also need to be aware that getting there mi...
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Kuier a while at the Kalahari Kuierfees
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Kuier a while at the Kalahari Kuierfees

September seems to be a bumper month for the Northern Cape with the Gariep Kunstefees , NWCA NDFT Daisy Marathon (already taken place at the beginning of the month), St. Augustine's Cultural Festival (24 September), Apollo Film Festival (25 September) and the Kalahari Kuierfees from 23-25 September 2010. I had no idea what the Kalahari Kuierfees was all about, so I thought I find out a bit more and let you all know so if you’re in the area you can go and take part in some of the fun.  This is a three day event that takes place in Upington and last year attracted more than 30 000 festival go...
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The Rooi Granaat in Loxton
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The Rooi Granaat in Loxton

My brother and I recently spent a Sunday night in the tiny Karoo town of Loxton.  I'd done a bit of reading and vaguely remembered that nothing was open from Saturday lunch time to Monday morning (thank goodness we'd stopped in Senekal for lamb chops) but how right I was; absolutely nothing was open for those 18 hours - it was so quiet that it was actually eerie. Apart from the beautiful church there doesn’t appear to be much in this pretty, well kept, neat town (our walk around didn’t present us with a hive of activity!) but there is a gorgeous coffee shop called The Rooi Granaat in Lo...
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The Horse and Mill in Colesberg
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The Horse and Mill in Colesberg

The Horse and Mill in Colesberg is a perfect local pub and probably one of the only pubs in the town. Dinner was served at our accommodation in Colesberg (the fabulous Kuilfontein Stable Cottages) on a recent stop in Colesberg. But my brother who has driven the Cape Town to Johannesburg route numerous times is now familiar with The Horse and Mill and wanted to introduce me to it. There is a seperate bar and restaurant area (I presume to conform to smoking laws) and we opted to sit in the bar area where there was a bit more of a country pub vibe. There were approximately six tables in...
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Sutherland, the coldest town in South Africa?
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Sutherland, the coldest town in South Africa?

I spent the first few days of August in the coldest place in South Africa; Sutherland.  I had arrived prepared with my warmest winter woolies transported from my London days and to be perfectly honest, I was dying to wear my GAP down filled jacket again. Unluckily for me though, Sutherland did not live up to its reputation and instead we walked around in jeans, t-shirts and slops! We arrived via Loxton and from quite a distance out one can make out the domes of SALT (Southern Africa Large Telescope) for which Sutherland is just as famously known but this Northern Cape town has a few othe...
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Perlman House Restaurant in Sutherland – a review
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Perlman House Restaurant in Sutherland – a review

I had dinner at Perlman House Restaurant in Sutherland when I was in the town last week and what a night that was!  A booking had been made for star gazing (we were in the star gazing capital of the world after all) but we were having such a wonderful time that we made a unanimous decision to just turn our heads to the heavens instead for our own version of star gazing! Perlman’s is owned and run by Annie, Vincent and Annie’s mum!  We booked a table and although this is advisable during the weekend we were there on a Monday evening and there was only one other table booked. We had a ...
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The wild flowers are here – where you’ll find what this weekend
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The wild flowers are here – where you’ll find what this weekend

The wild flowers are already putting in an appearance! Certainly local radio stations have begun broadcasting that they are out and about for all to see. And little white and pink oxalis are already blooming in and around Darling, whilst gorgeous drosera (more commonly known as sundews) are beginning to raise their heads. From now until the middle of September you can expect, weather depending (and it has been a rather dry season for some parts of the flower route), to see a flurry of flowers; a burst of colour; a carpet of blossoms; proof that spring has sprung! All the way up the west...
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Exploring the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
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Exploring the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Our road trip to see the sights of South Africa didn't get off to a very good start. Our mission statement was to see as much of South Africa as we could in the three weeks we had set aside for our purpose. We started driving up the east coast of South Africa from Cape Town. After getting severely lost on our way to a friend's holiday house in Coffee Bay we though the worst was over. But after a few blissful days rest we were back onto the road with Johannesburg as our destination and soon hit major car trouble, which had us staying over at a small inland town while waiting for repairs. ...
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