Grootdrink, Green Kalahari

Despite the town's allusion to bigness - Grootdrink, translated from the Afrikaans, means 'big drink' - it is little more than a small town in the nether reaches of the Northern Cape on the N10, which leaves the N14 linking Upington with Kuruman, just outside the former town.

It is in the same league as towns like Postmasburg and Danielskuil - off the beaten track and seldom on travellers' itineraries, except if you are en route to Augrabies National Park or even further, the Richtersveld Transfrontier Park - then Grootdrink looks like a viable option for an overnighter or more, before heading on.

However, one stops to think again when hearing of Grootdrink Winery's domination of the Country Cellars competition for the Winemakers and Viticulturists of the Orange River Wine Cellars in 2010. Suddenly Grootdrink has earned its claim to any type of drinking at all, making off with Champion Wine Cellar, Champion Winemaker, Best Red Blend and Best Red Cultivar.

With the promise of good wine, and the peace and quiet and beautiful scenery - think red sand and quiver trees - that comes with staying up here in the southern Kalahari landscape, Grootdrink has more than earned its stripes as a place worthy of a visit.

Vineyards flourish along the banks of the Orange River and the vines are in stark contrast to the largely dry vicinity. If you think that there are twenty winemakers, one very big river, and yields that make the average co-op look tiny. Because of this accommodation in Upington is aplenty. It is little surprise then that areas close by, like Grootdrink, should follow suit. Next time you're in the neighbourhood, stay in Grootdrink, taste the wine and reflect on what it is to be miles away from everything.

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