Kathu the town under trees

Kathu the town under trees

Kathu the town under trees
on the edge of the Kalahari desert

Kathu is a small town in the Northern Cape province of South Africa. The town locates on the south edge of the Kalahari desert. The nearby towns are Upington and Vryburg. The distances are huge to my surprise. More than 200 km in each direction. Founded in the late 1960s, Kathu is indeed a very young town. With a population of around 15000 inhabitants, the town is a mid size town. It is obvious that the city comes straight away from a drawing board because of the structured arrangement.

Only bushland and savannah dominate the surrounding countryside. The red sand and the dry vegetation make the landscape unique looking. In contrast to the bushland, the town is the home of a camel thorn tree forest. It is one of two in the world. Therefore, Kathu also called the “town under the trees”. It is not surprising to me that these trees are the town’s landmark indeed. The Sishen golf course, one of South Africa’s top golf courts is part of the camel thorn tree forest.

The camel thorn trees with long and sharp thorns are under protection in South Africa. The trees are Kathu’s ecological treasure and creating a unique atmosphere for the town. 

Even if the land around is flat nevertheless, the elevation of this area is 1100 m and more. Only a couple of hills are visible at some distance from the town. In the summertime, the temperature rises more than 30 degrees. But in the wintertime, the temperature drops far below 10 degrees. I had to defrost my car windows many times.

It is my first time in South Africa but my second time in Africa after Sudan. Obviously, things are different here from what I have seen before in the north of Africa.

Tuban five years later
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Bushland in the Northern Cape