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LOCAL TIME: 03:58 am | Friday, 24 November
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Verneukpan, Kalahari, Northern Cape

Verneukpan, Kenhardt, Green Kalahari, Northern CapeVerneukpan is a 57×11 km absolutely flat surface of a dried up lake. It has attracted speedsters bent on breaking the world land speed record, the most famous being Malcolm Campbell, set on breaking the then land speed record of 350 km/h in his Bluebird in 1929.

The track that he compacted on the pan is still visible today. The surface is pretty rough with rocks and brush over a great portion of the pan and this contributed to Campbell’s tyre damage, causing him to fail in his attempt.

In the early 1950s, Cape Town’s Vic Proctor tried for the world motorcycle record on a Vincent HRD Black Lightning but crashed at around 160 km/h. Verneukpan is also the place where South African land-speed record holder and former fighter pilot Johan Jacobs died tragically on 27 June 2006 when his jet car, Edge, went out of control and flipped while travelling at close to 500 km/h during a practice run for an attempt to break the 24-second world record for the standing mile over 1,64 km.

The pan is ideal for aero-tow operations as you can launch and land in any direction you choose. Verneukpan is also the undisputed, ultimate, kiting destination in South Africa. It is also suited to parasailing.

For those looking for more leisurely pursuits, the wide-open spaces, blue skies, desert colours and desolate beauty are made for photographers. Sunrise and sunset and totally clear starry nights offer endless possibilities. Camp out and enjoy the silence. Bird watching is also an option at the various lookout points.

GPS Coordinates: S 30.00.299 E 021.08.772 and Airstrip GPS Coordinates: E.02108.20 S.2959.20

Verneukpan is 115km south of Kenhardt on the R27 to Brandvlei.

More info on the quaint town of Kenhardt More info on the Green Kalahari area