Northam, Waterberg

Northam, notable virtually only for its 50 kilometre proximity to yet another little town called Thabazimbi, is one of those stoic, modest towns through which one is wont to travel in this part of the world.

It is incredibly hot with temperatures that regularly soar to 40 degrees Celsius, and visitors are subjected to a distinctive type of hospitality unique to the region that is at once delightful and quaint.

The second most notable thing about Northam, other than the haphazard stalls that line the street, home to hawkers who sell fruit, vegetables and anything else that they can get you to buy, is the world’s deepest platinum mine, which produces about 325 000 ounces of platinum a year, and lies just outside Northam close to the Merensky Reef, from which it extracts precious metals.

But this part of the world that is at once close to the city (only 90 minutes from Pretoria) and yet as far from civilisation as one can ask, is where one comes to escape. It doesn’t have to advertise itself in beautiful, inviting little towns, for the landscape is rough and extreme, and the beauty of a type that is difficult to describe for this is the heart of the Bushveld.

Surrounding the town of Northam are a number of private game reserves that make a visit here worth the heat.

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Better than Disney

Nick Jones (London)

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