Grand Constance, a winter pairing.

It’s one of those winter’s days when your duvet is your best friend and you seriously contemplate working from your bed. All I want to say is “Really Cape Town, does it have to be this cold?”

But I have a date with food and wine and history at Groot Constantia, so I dress up and show up, shivering and muttering just a little bit.

The focus is food, but I am still at the “I don’t understand this menu” level .

The food is being paired with wine which unless served in a really small glass makes me sleepy, drunk or both very quickly.

My mood improves slightly as I enter the grounds of Groot Constantia. A weak sun is shining on the vineyards and the old buildings have a classic beauty that is admirable in any weather.

Groot Contantia perfevcting life for 300 years Di Brown

Entering the private function room at Jonkershuis Restaurant I am cheered up a bit more by the warmth of the fire, gorgeous table, warming nibbles and a glass of Grand Constance.

a warm fire paired with Grand Constance Di Brown

I am addicted to Grand Constance, so let me tell you a little bit about it.

It comes from the Cloete Cellar at Groot Constantia which is the original home of the South African wine industry dating all the way back to 1685.

Grand Constance is a sweet wine with spicy undertones and smoother than anything you will ever taste in your entire life.

It is high in sugar, totally organic and wine maker Boela Gerber has managed to come very close to replicating the recipe and methods used hundreds of years ago, when this wine was highly sought after by the who’s who of Europe.

Groot Constantia still have the original purchase order from Napoleon Bonaparte who needed thirty bottles of Groot Constantia wine a month to give him comfort during his exile on St Helena Island.

Grand Constance Di Brown

Grand Constance is made from Muscat grapes which are left on the vines until they are practically raisins. They are then picked, stomped and allowed to ferment for a few days before being pressed and put into barrels for a couple of years. That’s just the basics of the process; they are not giving away all their secrets.

Whatever they do and however they do it, the result is very palatable. In my opinion Grand Constance can be paired with everything, but Groot Constantia does have other great wines, and this is how they chose to pair them.

Grand Constance

By now I am cheerful and warmed by the fire and the generous glass of Grand Constance that has warmed and charmed me into good humour. I take a look at the four course menu and foreign words assail me.

Pafait, gnudi, emulsion, parmentier, terrine, fondant.

Help! What does it all mean?

A few English words come in to focus and reassure me, nice easy words like cauliflower, mash, kudu and chocolate cake. OK,maybe I will survive.

the table is set, Jonkershuis Di Brown

The starter and dessert were both paired with Grand Constance and did an excellent job in enhancing all the subtle flavours of the wine.

For the foodies, here are the details, foreign words and all.

Starter: Chicken liver parfait, soft creamy goat’s cheese on brioche toast served with a choice of these preserves.

Apricot and vanilla, spiced beetroot relish, apple chutney, almond and honey praline, pineapple and chilli preserve.

The dessert was a celebration of chocolate flavours and consisted of a dark chocolate and citrus terrine, a chocolate fondant with salted caramel and a gluten free chocolate cake.

We also enjoyed a Governeurs Reserve White wine with Ricotta Gnudi, butternut emulsion, sage noisette butter and spinach.

This was followed by a Governeurs  Reserve Red with Deconstructed Kudu Wellington, buttered cauliflower mash, puff pastry with porcine and red wine sauce and roasted winter root vegetables.

Despite my initial misgivings and appalling ignorance and inability to speak fluent “food and wine” this restaurant is not easy to leave.

From the creative blends of flavours to the friendliness of our hosts and the perfect private setting for a day of indulgence, GrootConstantia  delighted me.

Jonkershuis door Di Brown

Foodies will swoon and drool and to any non-foodies like me, the food might sound scary and weird but it is actually normal food with a delicious twist and when the plate is in front of you, you will recognise most of what is on it.Trust me, just dig in and enjoy it.

I finally left the venue, full, warmed, merry and with a great respect for the creative people who combine science and a passion for food with such artistic flair and make eating an adventure.


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CheapflightsExplorers: HoutBay, Cape Town.

The city of Cape Town is a drama queen of note, and during winter her moods are all over the place.

She charms you with beautiful sun drenched days and just when you have unpacked all your favourite T shirts she throws a tantrum. Icy winds blow in from the Arctic, and black clouds rain on your dreams of outdoor living. Mountains and views disappear into the mist, and the wind is in cahoots with the bad hair day monster.

The city becomes fifty shades of grey, but trust me, you do not want to be naked.

Hout bay beach, Di Brown

Don’t allow the weather to trap you inside as there are benefits to braving the elements and exploring Cape Town in winter, all you need is a positive attitude and warm clothing of the layered variety.

I became a #CheapflightsExplorer of Cape Town for a day and it was not sunny at all. I must admit that I would far rather be out and about as nothing makes me more miserable or cold than being inside looking out at a grey day. Depressing stuff.

Kathryn Rossiter and I were sent off from Constantia to explore Hout Bay and Chapmans Peak and this is what we found.

Hout Bay beach, windswept ,wild and awesome. This is not the calm bay of summer where boats cruise smoothly on a turquoise sea and the large block of rock called the Sentinel draws your eyes to marvel at it’s greatness.


Today it’s a beach with grumpy birds flying like drunkards in the wind. The sea is a cold green and the waves are fighting the air and throwing seaweed onto the sand. The Sentinel is a dark blob, half obscured by a very black cloud. It’s raw nature showing who is boss and it is a beautiful sight, but you have to hear it and feel it to enjoy it.

When the feelings get too much, three steps from the beach will take you to Dunes Restaurant. It is family friendly with indoor and outdoor options and the best views in town. We warmed up with coffee on the deck upstairs as I resigned myself to a mad hair day.

the Dunes, Hout Bay. Di Brown

Leaving Hout Bay, headlights on and windscreen wipers needed we drove up Chapman’s Peak , one of the most scenic drives in the world, whatever the weather. This road was started 101 years ago and took seven years to complete. It is sometimes closed due to rock falls, causing Capetonians to freak out and the tolls brought in in 2003 caused a huge furore, but if that’s what was needed to keep “Chappies” open, so be it.

Kathrine Rossiter enjoying the views, Chapmans Peak, Di Brown

We drove, marvelled at the views, the engineering, the giant steel meshes to keep the rocks in place, paid the toll with a semi smile and stopped at various viewpoints without getting blown out to sea. We also met Clara who was selling her colourful beaded animals at one of the viewing points and she was good enough to pose for a pic.

Clara and her awesome beadwork, Chapmans Peak, Di Brown

Heading down into Noordhoek we decided that retail therapy and a comfort stop trumped a long walk on the beach. This beach is dreamland for dedicated surfers and equestrian addicts, and it’s good looking too, even on a moody, drama queen day. For more info on beach rides click here 

Noordhoek beach, Di Brown

The Farm Village in Noordhoek is a curious mix of eateries, a Hotel, a deli, coffee roastery, info centre and unique clothing and speciality shops. It was too chilly to sample the temptingly named Kirsten’s Kick Ass Ice Cream but we did enjoy the excellent coffee from The Village Roast.


The browsing took longer than anticipated as there is so much to see, a refreshing change from a collection of chain stores. Shopping for non- essentials is a highly recommended winter hobby, and this is the place to do it.

colours of Africa seen at The Village Mall, Di Brown

Colourful things that must be examined.

The Village shopping Mall  Noordhoek, Di Brown

Creative displays to make you smile.

Coffee to fuel you to explore / shop all day 🙂

Back in Hout Bay we followed the road until it ended and found the locals favourite fish shop, aptly named Fish on the Rocks. Something of an institution in Hout Bay they have been selling fish to the community for over 25 years.

Fish n Chips, Hout Bay, Di Brown

Being in a working fishing harbour the smell, while not my favourite aroma, certainly lends authenticity to the statement that the fish is really fresh.  Take a walk over to the cannons right next to the shop, it’s a great spot to watch the waves and imagine the drama as enemy ships tried to enter the bay. The cannons are in working order and the tourism office can provide information on when they are fired. Boom, this weather looks just right for a war movie.

canon at Hout Bay, Di Brown

Braving the light rain we walked around the area that on Friday, Saturday and Sunday is where you will find the lively Bay harbour market, an energetic celebration of tastes, cultures, music, art and bargains, offered in real, noisy Cape Town style. Being a weekday we missed it, but being a weekday, we found parking everywhere we went, and did not fight traffic, not even once, a rare thing in Cape Town.

Craft beer, Hout Bay, Di Brown

Shopping and eating is thirsty work and a good craft beer goes down well in any weather. The Urban Brewing Co is a convenient few steps from Fish on the Rocks, it would be criminal to leave the area without sinking a pint or two.


Some interesting street art adorns the walls in this street.

street art, hout bay, Di Brown

A community project, I love that.



Back tracking we went to the more mainstream Mariners Wharf, in their words “ a harbour front emphorium” that is bounded by the beach, the road and a dock and has a long pier that must be walked to see the fishing vessels, seals and sea birds. The seagulls will do their utmost to share your food, so look out, the calamari we had there is way too good to share.

Mariners Wharf, Hout Bay, Di Brown

Kathryn braves the elements to walk along the pier and say hi to a really fat seal.

Boats at Hout Bay Harbour, Di Brown

Look at these silly birds lining up for who knows what.Roll call?


A last walk on the beach before heading home.


Cape Towns moods don’t get me down, I enjoy seeing the real side of this temperamental diva.

Get yourself to Cape Town this winter, pack your warm clothes but throw in a T-shirt or two, beat the crowds, the traffic and the boring picture perfect views and experience a slightly different Cape Town to what you see in the brochures. She will still steal your heart.


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Disclosure: This post is part of a Cheapflights campaign, opinions are all my own.





Zip-lining West Coast style

Piekenierskloof Mountain Resort is 170km from Cape Town on the N7, situated just after the top of the pass with the same name. The Cederberg Mountains shimmer in blues and greys in the distance and the road we arrived on continues its twists and turns for another eight kilometres to the farming town of Citrusdal, appearing as a hazy mini land at the foot of the valley.

We arrived just after nine in the morning on a perfect Cape West Coast winters day. Impossibly blue skies contradicted the chill in the air, and the bright sun lights up rocks and trees in copper tones.

Trees in winter Piekenierskloof Di Brown

Sitting on the deck overlooking the Olifant’s River Valley we dived in to welcome bowls of creamy butternut soup, warm spicy breadsticks, and steaming hot coffee. Bellies full and bodies warmed we were ready for our adventure. Zip lining !


Safety trumps fashion as we gear up and listen to the briefing of the do’s and don’ts when zip lining. I don’t think the full body harnesses suits many people, but I do feel reassured that it won’t come off under any circumstances. The lovely Shammy Shamrock manages to own the look, styling in her bright colours, clips and safety gear.

Before I have time to wonder if I am nervous, I am on the first platform being clipped in and looking over the dam to my landing point some 90 meters away. Natasha, our guide is calm and reassuring and with a big smile, she sends me on my way.

 “I believe I can fly, I believe I can touch the sky” sings R.Kelly in my head and I forget about the lines, the harness and the helmet and embrace the freedom. For a moment it is just me, traveling in the air looking up at the endless blue and down at the rocky ground, burnt trees and vivid greens of the new growth.

Yes, I am flying and it’s awesome.

The line Pikenierskloof Di Brown

This is a perfect experience for first timers or anyone who is keen to try but is a little apprehensive about the thought of zip- lining.

Some zip-line adventures involve platforms that are extremely high up and bolted to rock faces or trees and the views looking down  are knee trembling sheer drops into a wild abyss. Totally awesome if you have zip-lined before or are hooked on adrenalin rush adventures, but nerve wracking if you have even the smallest fear of heights and do not know what to expect once you take off.

The zipline platforms Pikenierskloof Di Brown

The platforms here are a manageable four to six meters above the ground making the leap of faith into fresh air an easy one.

They also have a braking method that I particularly enjoyed as I am not any good at the traditional method of braking which involves using your  gloved hand to push down on the line behind your head.

This method has you positioned with both hands in front of you, slightly above your head, holding onto two  handles that are attached to a metal runner clipped onto the line. It gives you full control of your speed as it’s as simple as “push up  to go pull down  to  stop” After the first slide, for the first time ever, I was a zip- lining pro and it felt good.

Views from the zipline Piekenierskloof Di Brown

Waiting my turn to do the second slide I got distracted by the incredible abandoned building next to the platform . Wandering through the remains of  this home with no roof and  crumbling walls, the windows reveal magnificent views and I pause to think about who might have lived here, what is their story and why did they leave such a beautiful place. Hopefully I will find out next time.

Piekenierskloof views Di Brown

On the 16th January 2016 a wild fire raged out of control and for two days the staff and every available hand fought the flames that approached from all sides. The burnt vegetation is still visible no more than twenty meters from the hotel buildings. Staff members tell me that the expertise of Jan Horn, the GM of Piekenierskloof, and an ex Firefighter for the City Of Cape Town, is what saved the resort.

The existing zip-lines that crossed the valley were all burned down or damaged and we were there to celebrate the re- opening of the first three of the seven new slides.

The Shadow Minister of Tourism toasts the success of another WestCoast adventure attraction.

James and Nadia, ready to fly Di Brown

Piekenierskloof took this opportunity to make this adventure even better than before and the new slides are longer, traversing down the valley rather than across it, making them even more exciting.

Its easy Piekenierskloof zipline Di Brown

The remaining four lines will be open to the public around the end of August 2016 and promise to provide thrills to all who dare to #ZipLineKloof. I can’t wait.

Ziplining at Pikenierskloof Di BrownZipline Piekenierskloof Di Brown

The cost for zip-lining is extremely affordable at ZAR150 per person for three slides or ZAR250 per person for all seven slides.

Other activities worth looking at are target shooting, MTB routes, hikes and walks.

For the less active give your taste buds some excitement with pure West Coast flavours that involve chocolate and other tasty treats paired with local wines and / or Carmien Teas. This is Rooibos and citrus country where you get the very best, very fresh.

For after action relaxation the Piekenierskloof Wellness Centre can soothe and pamper you, or you can refresh in the heated indoor pool or swim outdoors where the views are truly magnificent.

Pknsklf pool Di Brown

Piekenierskloof is part of the WestCoastWay Berg Route. This route offers a variety of tastes, culture, adventure and nature and is a comprehensive way to discover and explore the area.



How to book and all the details.

For zip-line bookings in the pre-scheduled time slots (and with at least a day’s notice to ensure availability) contact Natasha on 022 9213574. Guests must arrive at least 30 minutes prior to complete an indemnity form at Reception and bookings are weather permitting.
For more information on Piekenierskloof and the West Coast Way Berg Route, as well as the list of 101 Things to Do on the West Coast visit call West Coast Way on 0861 321 777. Connect with West Coast Way on Facebook and Twitter at WestCoastWaySA.

Facilities available at Piekenierskloof Mountain Resort

  • Accommodation • Child Friendly • Bar • Restaurant (Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner) • Outdoor Pool • Indoor Heated Pool • Wheelchair Accessibility (Chalets 9 & 16, Hotel Room 217) • 4 Star Tourism Grading • Trip Advisor • Conference Facilities • Wedding and Function Venue • Tuck Shop • Un-Guided Nature Walks • Online Booking Facilities

Contact: Reservations +27 (0)22 921 3574  |

Pikenierskloof dam Di Brown


Rooibos Tea is the new coffee

Food and drink have become such an integral part of tourism that our travel is dictated by our taste buds, and no holiday is complete without some sort of pairing.

When coffee beans took over the world a few years ago, a whole new language and culture was created, as were billions of new caffeine addicts.

Now many people are becoming concerned about their caffeine addiction, but really, who would want to give up coffee?

The good news is you don’t have to, just buy a teapot. It’s that easy.

Then experiment until you find your favourite rooibos tea flavours and add them to your daily liquid intake, reducing your coffee consumption proportionately.

You don’t even have to abandon your coffee culture habits as you can buy capsules for your Nespresso and make a Red Cappuccino, Rooibos Espresso or Rooibos Chai all made by Carmien Tea.

Rooibos teas are organic, totally caffeine free, naturally sweet and have no kilojoules at all.

Whatever your taste, you will find a natural, green or herbal infused tea to suit your palate


Rooibos tea is a national treasure, unique to South Africa. The only place in the world where it can be successfully grown is 60 000 hectare belt within the Greater Cederberg Biodiversity Corridor,  in the West Coast  region of the Cape Province.

The Farm Tour.

On a bitterly cold morning we arrived at Bergendal and Ilze Bruwer from Carmien took us straight to one of the rooibos fields. The icy wind froze our faces as we sheltered under umbrellas from the light rain that started to fall.

We walked a little, stopping to sniff the unremarkable, slightly scruffy looking plants growing in this beautiful valley while Ilze spoke with pride and passion about this miracle bush called Rooibos.


The weather deteriorated fast and we took a short drive to the hub of the business where the harvested plants begin the transformation to delicious tea. Most of the rooibos branches are cut to lengths varying from 1,5 to 5 mm before being bruised to aid natural reactions which develop the colour and flavour of the tea. At this point the green rooibos is crushed and fermented before the drying process.


The rooibos is now left in heaps to ferment for 10 -14 hours before being spread out on the massive yards to dry naturally in the sun. It is then graded according to size, flavour, colour and taste before being sterilized by steam pasteurisation.

The fine dust from the tea created orange and red puddles on the rain drenched courtyard and we splashed through them as we made our way to thaw out with a tea tasting.


We warmed up in the tasting room with Rooibos Chai, followed by a delicious Green rooibos, ginger and chilli tea and finished with a surprisingly good flower infused brew called Vintage Romance.

Wine, tea and food pairing. 

Follow up your farm tour with a tasting at Hebron situated just up the road on the way back to the pass. The entrance is opposite the Piekenierskloof Mountain Resort. For the not so hungry you can do  four pairings with various teas, wines and lovely snacks like Lindt dark chocolate, Turkish Delight, goats cheese and dried sausage or you can go all out and have a four course meal with wines and teas to compliment each serving.


Due to the cold outside and the cozy atmosphere in the Hebron room we did it all, led by the food wizard Arnel Pellegrom.

I must confess that not being much of a foodie I can find pairings  boring, pretentious and baffling at times but Arnel will entertain and enlighten any sceptic. Her enthusiastic descriptions of why she selected a specific tea and Groot Constantia Wine to compliment each course was  backed by quite a lot of scientific facts which I found very interesting.

I also loved her ability to admit that sometimes what she dreams up does not work as she thought it would, and then she grins and says the only way to really know is to taste it.


Just to tempt you, here are the tasty details of my two favourite courses at Hebron.

Grilled loin of Springbok with pearl barley risotto and quince jelly paired with Carmien Vanilla Mocha and Groot Constantia Shiraz.

Phyllo mille feuille with blood orange sabayon paired with Carmien Cherry and Orange and my favourite drink in the whole wide world, Groot Constantia Grand Constance.

Do this, it is different, it is exciting for your mouth and it is good for you.


While we sipped Ilze talked us through the multitude of herbs, flowers, spices, fruits and nuts that Carmien are continuously experimenting with and adding to their teas to provide exciting new tastes and added health benefits.

Natural Rooibos is high in anti-oxidants, contains no kilojoules and is very low in tannin.

It also replaces essential minerals like iron, zinc, sodium and potassium, alleviates allergies, and is soothing to the nervous system. These are just a few of the health benefits of rooibos tea.


What’s the big deal about anti- oxidants?

Anti- oxidants and free radicals occur naturally in the human body. The problem occurs when the balance between free radicals and anti- oxidants is off. Our modern lifestyle filled with environmental toxins, stress, pharmaceuticals, processed foods, cigarette smoking and UV rays increases the amount of free radicals in our bodies and this is not a good thing. Free radicals are blamed for all sorts of badness, from compromised immune systems to cell mutation, heart problems, cancer and other life threatening diseases.

The best and most natural way to control free radicals is to make sure we have a healthy intake of anti-oxidants and all Rooibos products have this is abundance.  So now you know.


About the company called Carmien Tea.

The HQ and farm is situated on the Bergendal Estate near the top of the Piekenierskloof Pass in the heart of Rooibos country. Here they grow rooibos and do all the producing and packaging of the organic rooibos they grow and from the farms they source from  in Piekenierskloof, Nieuwoudville, Wupperthal and Gifberg.



The Feel Good Factors.

Their motto is Growing Goodness and this sums up exactly what they do.

They grow goodness in the way that they and the affiliate estates farm. By letting nature do her job they produce healthy, organic tea.

They grow goodness in the way they look after the farm workers and their children, providing crèches, kindergarten and after school facilities that are all well equipped with everything young people need to successfully thrive and learn. They provide bursaries and walk the talk when they state the children are the future.

They grow goodness in the way they support the community and the future of the business by making the workers on Bergendal shareholders in the rooibos industry.

They grow goodness by their commitment to FairTrade principles and practices and to the nine certification bodies they are regularly audited by.


There is a Carmien tea for every occasion

The best way to prepare rooibos is to allow it to draw for 3 minutes. For the maximum benefit and best taste drink it without milk, sugar or honey. The best temperature is about 60 degrees but it can be enjoyed as an iced tea too.

It’s a tea for the whole family.Special blends are available for expectant and nursing mums and an organic kiddies and babies tea is available at the affordable price of R17 for 40 teabags.Start your kids in  infancy and set them on a healthy path for life.

Get creative and pair it with food and wine or food and beer, you will be surprised at the results.

Try this for a few days and then tell me how great you feel.

  • Start your day with a cup of Carmien Rooibos vanilla mocha if you are missing your coffee flavours.
  • Before a meal sip on the Carmien Green Honeybush, Rooibos and Mint tea as it is a palate cleanser, have another cup after your meal as it helps to digest your food and the anti-oxidants break down the any fats you have consumed. Great for detoxing and cleansing.
  • If you suffer from allergies, circulation problems, high cholesterol, headaches, stomach cramps, indigestion or stress there is a tea that will aid the alleviation of your symptoms.
  • For pure enjoyment Carmien Rooibos Chai contains cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves and black pepper. Chai spices are said to naturally heal the body and promote heart health.
  • Before going to sleep a cup of Carmien Rooibos and Camomile for a good night’s rest.


To browse the Carmien Range and order online click here

Book a tasting at Hebron, Citrusdal, South Africa
+27 (0)22 921 2595 / +27 (0)22 921 2581

Book a farm tour at Bergendal  ideally two days in advance by calling 022 921 8900

Carmien and Hebron are on the WestCoastWaySA Berg Route.



World Land Speed Record Attempt. South Africa 2017

It has just been announced that the date for the record attempt has finally been set by Bloodhound.

After a few false starts that had us anticipating this event in 2015 we now have a firm date and the whole world will get to know our very own Northern Cape.


Save the date.

   15th October 2017.


In a round world, South Africa’s Northern Cape is home to the flattest place on earth and it is called Hakskeenpan.  Find it at  26°46’15.71″S   20°13’35.15″E  on Google Earth.

In September 2014 I spent 12 hours at the pan for Kalahari Speedweek, as part of South African World Tourism Day mega celebration.

That was long enough to hook me.

On first sighting the pan, my brain gasped. Only two colours registered, and my world comprised of blue sky and yellow sand. That’s it.

A 360 degree turn revealed a slight ridge of dunes, and on the opposite side of hint of a few reeds, trying to be green. Sound is non existent until you concentrate and the sand emits a combination of a whistle and a roar. Tune in a bit more and you might hear a bird, but nothing man made.

It made me want to whisper.

Black took on a whole new meaning when night fell, and as I could not see my feet walking was tricky so I lay on my back and looked at the stars. Where did all these “extra stars” come from, it is dizzying trying to take it all in.

The main event

This geographical phenomenon is going to put the Northern Cape in the spotlight of the world in the in 2017, when the Bloodhound Team aim to break the World Land Speed record by attempting to travel at over 1 600 km/ph over a 20km track.

So how fast is that? A Boeing 747 flies at an average speed of 920km/ph. That is 600km/ph slower than what the Bloodhound will attempt on land!

For the ladies, the Bloodhound will reach a speed of 800km/ph in the time it takes to you to apply your lipstick. At full speed the Bloodhound will travel faster than a bullet fired from a 357 Magnum.

Speed Freaks

It all started in the United Kingdom in 2008 when the Bloodhound Project was officially announced.This project is the result of adventurous dreamers, engineers, scientists, speed freaks, communication experts and technical wizards working together to build an eco-friendly, seriously sexy vehicle to set new land speed records, and in doing so, to share the technology and information with the whole world.

In their words “The Bloodhound Project is a global Engineering Adventure, using a 1 000 mph World Land Speed Record attempt to inspire the next generation about science, technology, engineering and mathematics” and it will all be happening right here in South Africa

Read more about the World Record attempt here

When travelling at over 1 000km/ph a tiny bump can be the equivalent of hitting a boulder, so an extremely flat area with no vegetation, and longer than 10miles had to be found to carry out the record attempt.  A world wide search spanning a few years resulted in the finding, testing and accepting of Hakskeenpan as the best site in the world for this adventure.



Keep an eye on the package deals to be announced by Northern Cape Tourism.

If all this talk of speed excites you, you can get involved via Speedweek Kalahari.

This is an annual event held at the pan that enables petrol heads and speed addicts to play with their toys without complaints from the neighbours. This is a great way to experience the magic of the pan, push your own vehicle to the max or just enjoy the spectacle.

Now that you have decided that you need to be there, here is all the information you need to persuade your family and friends to join you on an epic Northern Cape adventure.

Upington is the urban hub of the area and the Orange River flows right through the middle of the town. The weather is great and the wine is outstanding, as many of the best wines of South Africa are produced on the Orange River Wine Route, located between Augrabies and Upington.

The Augrabies National Park is 110 km West of Upington. Obviously, this is where you can view the Augrabies Falls, but also consider a Hot Air Balloon trip, 4 x 4 trails , bird watching and game drives.


Sandboarding at Kakamas, or paragliding in Kuruman, recommended before you start the wine tasting. Take a look at the Quiver Tree Route for the best way to explore this region.

Hakskeenpan is 250km North of Upington and from the pan to Kalaghadi Transfrontier Nation Park is a piddly 116km.


To survive the desert, make a  pit stop at Molopo Lodge  for the best lunch and a swim.

Just up the road in Northern Cape terms you will find Kalahari Trails, home of  Prof Anna and the meerkats, those little cuties who inspired the TV show.

The Kalagadi Transfrontier park is the coldest I have ever been in a desert, but seeing a lion, birds, hyena and Bambi in the first 15 minutes of the game drive distracted me from my frozen state.

Take a look at the Red Dune Route from Upington to the Kgalagadi for a complete list of activities and accommodations

For comprehensive information on the Northern Cape Province click here.


I have updated this post of mine that was originally published by Traveller 24 in 2014.