Kathu is a town in South Africa, and the iron ore capital of the Northern Cape province. Its name means “town under the trees”, after the Camel Thorn forest it is situated in.
The phrase “the town under the trees” was coined by an engineer working in the town in the early 1990 as part of a tourist marketing drive, together with the accompanying graphic. It was intended to be a marketing slogan. The meaning of the word “Kathu” has anecdotically been attributed to a porridge brewed by the local population from the powder found in the pods of the Camel Thorn trees. Kathu was founded in the late 60’s early 70’s. Kathu is perfectly situated in between Upington and Vryburg with about a 2 hour drive to each. Kimberley is a 3 hour drive away. The magnitude of the open-cast mining operation at Kathu is difficult to describe, or even to portray on film, and visitors on guided tours never fail to be astounded by the sheer size of the operation and the equipment used to extract and transport the much sought after iron ore. Some of the world’s longest goods trains travel through inhospitable and rugged terrain carrying their valuable iron ore cargo from Kathu to the port at Saldanha Bay.
Situated on the outskirts of the town of Kathu in the Northern Cape Province, this is truly a unique setting in which to play a round of golf – the course winds its way through a 500 hectare Camelthorn forest on the edge of the Kalahari Desert. Built and maintained by Sishen Iron Ore mine and officially opened in 1979, this is the last course designed by Robert (Bob) Grimsdell, which he unfortunately could not see completed. Considering its surroundings, its lush green fairways and greens have surprised many a visitor to this arid region.