About Hakskeen Pan MTB

Where: Klipkolk
Level: the pan is flat, no hills here, but don't get stuck out here for hours in the heat
Type of route: this is a salt pan, expect sand, lots of it
Distance: it's up to you
Tip: take your own drinking water; watch the heat in summer, it gets hellishly hot
Permits: it's free of charge

This part of the Northern Cape is Mier Country. It lies between the western edge of Namibia and the eastern side of Botswana, its northerly edges right up on the border with the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. Rietfontein is the capital town and has but one police station, a hospital, a school and other necessaries to survival out here.

8 000 people live here, in a space even larger than the Free State. Yet hardly anyone knows it exists. Most of those who live here are descendants of the San - South Africa's First People. And most of them are small stock farmers, dependent on government grants for survival. Sometimes it doesn't rain. All year.

It is an incredibly beautiful part of the country, with red sand dunes, access to an outdoor lifestyle that includes sandboarding, MTB trails and 4x4 trails, and incredibly friendly people.

The MTB trail starts anywhere on the Pan, as long as you're following a road, although you may want to take along a topographical map of the area. Just beyond the pan is Eierdop Koppies, also known as the Lost City of the Kalahari.

An explorer, Guillermo Farini (actually his name was William Leonard Hunt and Farini was a pseudonym for he was an entertainer and famous for his high wire acrobatics across Niagara Falls), claimed to have discovered the remains of a lost city out here. Years later people have postulated that it was natural stone formations he uncovered and that Eierdop Koppies, on the Hakskeen Pan, resembles his ruins the closest. But questions remain...

Hakskeen is not the only salt pan in the area. Around Mier there are many. There is no organised MTB route. You design your own.

Need to Know

WhereHaksteen Pan, Mier (near Askham), Kalahari, Northern Cape

WhenBest during daylight hours.

How muchFree

OvernightStay nearby in Mier, in Northern Cape

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