is a town in South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...
, and the iron ore capital of the Northern Cape
The Northern Cape is the largest and most sparsely populated province of South Africa. It was created in 1994 when the Cape Province was split up. Its capital is Kimberley. It includes the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park, part of an international park shared with Botswana...
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. The Camel Thorn tree Acacia erioloba
forest is one of only two in the world with the other being between Mariental and Rehoboth in Namibia
. Its uniqueness was recognized in the early 1920’s when it was declared a State Forest. In 1995 it was registered as a Natural Heritage Site. The Kathu forest is approximately 4000 hectares in size and these Camel thorns trees provide support for large Sociable Weaver’s nests and are used by many other bird and animal species. In fact surveys has shown a moderate to high diversity in animal and plant species, including several Red Data
, endemic and protected species in and around the forest. Bigger trees in the forest are reckoned to be older than 300 years.
The town and the accompanying industrial area of Sishen
Sishen is a town in Northern Cape, South Africa. It is the location of a large iron ore mine.- Transport :The mine is connected to the port of Saldanha Bay by the Sishen-Saldanha Railway Line. The line is electrified at 50 kV AC and the trains using this line are amongst the heaviest trains in the...
came into being because of iron ore mining
Mining is the extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the earth, from an ore body, vein or seam. The term also includes the removal of soil. Materials recovered by mining include base metals, precious metals, iron, uranium, coal, diamonds, limestone, oil shale, rock...
activity in the Kalahari — it has one of the five largest open-cast
Open-pit mining or opencast mining refers to a method of extracting rock or minerals from the earth by their removal from an open pit or borrow....
iron ore mining operations in the world. The primary drilling and 'load and haul' mining equipment used by the mine include giant ore trucks that bear about 260 ton of ore with each load. Mining shovels used to load these trucks can weigh in excess of 800 tons and drilling equipment include drills that can drill up to 400 mm holes for blasting purposes. Some of the world's longest ore trains travel through harsh territory on the Sishen-Saldanha railway
The Sishen–Saldanha railway line, also known as the Ore Export Line, is an long heavy haul railway line in South Africa. It connects iron ore mines near Sishen in the Northern Cape with the port at Saldanha Bay in the Western Cape...
to offload their cargo at Saldanha Bay
Saldanha Bay is a natural harbour on the south-western coast of South Africa, north west of Cape Town. The town that developed on the northern shore of the bay, also called Saldanha, was incorporated with five other towns into the Saldanha Bay Local Municipality in 2000. The current population of...
. Kumba Iron Ore Ltd
is the principal mine operator in Kathu.
Kathu has a golf course and a small, well stocked game reserve also adjoins the town.
The town has a well established sporting complex including tennis courts, swimming pool and a golf course. One of the tennis courts is named after veteran tennis player Herta Hegewisch.
Kathu is perfectly in between Upington and Vryburg with about a 2 hour drive to each. Kimberley is a 3 hour drive away.
Kathu was founded in the late 60's early 70's