Skip to main content

The Orange River Wine Route: Explore the Green Kalahari in South Africa

The Orange River Wine Route
Explore the Green Kalahari in South Africa

In the middle of a semi-desert area in the Northern Cape region of South Africa, the so-called Green Kalahari stretches improbably on either side of the Orange River, or Orange-Senqu River -- a wine route that has become a favourite of tourists and locals alike. Upington, Keimoes, Kakamas, Groblershoop and Grootdrink are the towns you'll find stretched along the river.

Larger than Germany, the Northern Cape is the most sparsely populated region of South Africa, and includes a variety of landscapes and environments from savannahs to semi-arid areas of red sand dunes to the green valley of the Orange River.

How to Get Here:
The N8 will get you as far as Upington. From there you can make a base camp, or keep driving till you hit the N10 at Groblershoop. Continuing northwest along the west bank of the river, you'll soon reach the N14. Vineyards extend about 300km on either side of the river. You can cover the whole route in about two days with frequent stops along the way -- Keimoes, Kakamas and Upington on one day, and Groblershoop and Grootdrink on another.

The Wines
The Orange River creates the slightly cooler micro-climate where vinyards thrive, and the region is known for its quality grapes, including sultana, columbard, chenin, and hanepoort varieties. The majority of wines produced here are white, including semi-sweet wines, dessert wines, and blended varieties, with a small amount of reds too.

About 850 farmers in the area supply grapes to the five Orange River Cellars, a co-op that was founded in 1965. There are cellars in Upingtnon, Kakamas, Keimoes, Grootdrink, and Groblershoop. Together, they produce about 30 different wines.

You can visit the five Orange River Cellars for wine tastings and tours. Cellar tours are free and are offered Mondays to Fridays and Saturday mornings during the harvest season from January to March. The cellars are open year round for wine tastings, which cost R10 for five wines and R20 for 10 wines.

You'll also find small, private wineries and vineyards, many that offer B&B accommodations, restaurants, and other amenities.

Orange River Cellars – 054 337 8800 /
Bezalel Wine & Brandy Estate – 054 491 1325 /
Die Mas – 054 431 0245 / 082 931 5902 /
Douglas Wine Cellar – 053 298 8315

Other Attractions in/near the Green Kalahari:
The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, or Kalahari Gemsbok National Park is Africa’s first transfrontier park, straddling Botswana and South Africa at the border with Namibia. It covers almost 3.7 million hectares of largely arid land, including red sand dunes and dry riverbeds. It is an important sanctuary for gemsbok, springbok, blue wildebeest, red hartebeest, eland, lion, leopard, cheetah and smaller game. Camping is available in the park. RESERVATIONS +27 12 428 9111

The Augrabies Falls National Park, where the Orange River begins with a 56m drop of rushing waters down a series of granite cataracts. Augrabies Falls National Park – 012 428 9111 /

If you like an active vacation, you'll enjoy adventure sports like white water rafting, parasailing on the many pans in the region, micro light glides above the undulating red dunes and jagged mountains of Riemvasmaak and the Mier Kalahari with its 35 to 40 meters high sand dunes. For the less adventurous traveller there is an abundance of hiking, canoeing, mountain biking, bird watching, game drives in the national and many exquisite private game reserves, camping and fly-in safaris.

Belurana River Boutique Hotel
Stay in a gracious 4-star boutique hotel on the banks of the Orange River. Rooms are spacious and feature elegant decor. There's a private patio overlookign the river, and an Olympic sized swimming pool on the landscaped grounds. Amenities include free Wifi, breakfast, and dinners available with 24 hours notice.

2 Brug Street | Die Dorp, Upington 8801, South Africa
Phone: +27 (0) 54 332 4323
Mobile: +27 (0) 82 925 3029
Address: 2 Brug Street, Upington


What Else Is Hot This Week?

Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company Spring 2013 Toronto Performances

From a media release:

The new season brings
Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company
to new heights and new audiences

March 20-24, 2013 - A Night in Madrid
April 25-28, 2013 - Annual Toronto Season - World Premiere of Portales

TORONTO : Following on the heels of Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company's (EESDC) 30th anniversary year where its production Aguas/Waters was named one of the top five dance shows of 2012 by NOW Magazine, the early months of 2013 are full of excitement and possibility for Esmeralda and the company, which brings the finest flamenco and Spanish Classical Dance to Toronto stages.

March 20-24, 2013 - A Night in Madrid
Company dancers Esmeralda Enrique and Paloma Cortés perform Spanish Classical dance with the celebrated Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir for A Night in Madrid featuring the Iberian flavoured music of composer Luigi Boccherini who made his home in Spain. His work is infused with the sounds of Spanish and gypsy folk music.

March 20-24 …

Polina Semionova to Appear as Guest Artist with American Ballet Theatre

From a media release:


New York - Polina Semionova, a principal dancer with Berlin State Opera Ballet, will debut as a Guest Artist with American Ballet Theatre for the 2011 Metropolitan Opera House season, it was announced January 14, 2011 by Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie. With ABT, Semionova will perform Kitri in Don Quixote at the matinee on Saturday, May 21, opposite David Hallberg as Basilio, and the dual role of Odette/Odile in Swan Lake on Saturday evening, July 2, opposite Hallberg as Prince Siegfried.

Born in Moscow, Semionova studied at the Bolshoi Ballet School before joining the Berlin State Opera Ballet as the company’s youngest principal dancer. Her repertoire with Berlin State Opera Ballet includes Odette-Odile in Swan Lake, Nikiya in La Bayadère, Marie in The Nutcracker, Princess Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, Swanilda in Coppélia, Kitri in Don Quixo…

Lithuanian Rock: Robertas Semeniukas - Backstage Stories (Independent / November 20, 2019)

Robertas Semeniukas - Backstage Stories
(Independent / November 20, 2019)
Stream it on Spotify
The Album "Backstage Stories" 2xLP & CD

Robertas Semeniukas is a great find if you like your rock with a hard edge and a strong groove. Naturally, guitar reigns supreme, with a sound that ranges from snarly to fluid and melodic, and virtuosic chops to keep everything interesting. You don't have to understand Lithuanian to enjoy the well-crafted songs and polished musicianship.

Of the 20 tracks, 8 are instrumental. This is rock in what you'd call a classic vein, heavily influenced by 1980s and 1990s bands, but with a modern gloss to it, and a sense of musical experimentation that isn't often associated with that era in Western pop music. Robertas wrote or co-wrote all the tracks except for one cover, the blues composition You Gotta Move by Mississippi Fred McDowell.

Within the rock/metal genre, the prolific composer, singer and musician mines a variety of moods. So…

So You Can't Go: Six Ways To Travel Virtually

So You Can't Go:
Six Ways To Travel VirtuallyTravel is limited for most of us in the world these days. For Canadians, it depends on the province you live in, but with the border to the US still closed, and other options limited at best, virtual travel from the couch can provide at least a view with a difference at a time when you may well need it most. Google Cardboard – VR On A BudgetYou don't need a lot of cash to get into travel via virtual reality. Google Cardboard is a line of VR viewers that are, well, made of cardboard, and are priced starting at $12CAD.If you check out this link, you'll find out how to download the software to your smartphone.At this link, you can get yourself an actual Google Cardboard for a hands-free VR experience. Google Cardboard apps offer a variety of ways to experience our beautiful planet, including Google Earth itself, which can take you anywhere, along with apps to view museums and cultural artifacts, and more.Ascape VRAscape has a huge l…

Blues/Rock: The Cole Patenaude Band - Are You Happy Now? (Independent / 24 July 2020)

The Cole Patenaude Band - Are You Happy Now?
(Independent / 24 July 2020) Buy the CD Big vocals and infectious grooves make up this release from The Cole Patenaude Band. It's modern blues with a classic sensibility, anchored by solid musicianship and upbeat songwriting. 
Keyboard player Dean Thiessen and Patenaude on guitar trade off solos and melodic lines to keep it interesting through a range of bluesy style, incorporating rock and country, with a pop song sheen on songs like For the Money. Would You Be Mine is more Elvis-esque rockabilly, while How To Love is an acoustic song with folky storytelling lyrics and feel. 
Compromise is a standout track, with a snarly guitar line and a churchy organ swelling underneath a nice bluesy beat. Horns aren't credited in the notes, but I swear I heard some on this and a couple of the other tracks. 
As a husband, father, and full-time mechanic based in Langley, British Columbia, finding the time to make his music was a challenge…