Askham, Kalahari

When travelling from Upington and making your way to the Kgalagadi National Park, you will come across the little town of Askham. Askham is situated just 73 km from the park entrance at Twee Rivieren.

Askham originally developed around the school which has a boarding house built in 1931, as well as the Dutch Reformed Church of Askham which serves the entire Kalahari.

This town acquired its name from a Scottish land surveyor named Rodger Jackson. He gave Askham its name when he surveyed farms in the Kuruman River in 1919. There are many various explanations given for Jackson’s choice of names. Some say that Jackson named Askham after a town on the Irish coast. Others say that Jackson took the name from a farmer’s words: “Ask him”, or from the message he sent to request ingredients for his breakfast: “Ask ham!”. The mystery behind the reasoning still remains.

Situated just a few kilometres from Askham is the police station at Witdraai. It was built in 1931 and was a breeding station for camels that were used for police patrols in the Kalahari. At one stage Witdraai boasted over 400 camels and supplied camels for police stations at Rietfontein, Obobogorag, Kuruman, Van Zylsrus, Deben and Olifantshoek.

Askham offers various exciting activities as well as fantastic amenities and little coffee shops. There are various guesthouses in and around the town which offer comfortable accommodation. The people of the Kalahari are renowned for their hospitality and love spoiling guests with traditional cuisine such as roosterkoek, juicy Kalahari lamb dishes, melktert and, in season, the sought after n’abba or Kalahari truffle.

Each little town in the Green Kalahari has its own unique characteristics and beauty and Askham is definitely one of them. Although it is small, Askham is not without character. It boasts genuine tranquillity and an ideal destination for the traveller.

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