Kuruman itself is so off the beaten track that featuring a tourist attraction on the Kuruman page that is 'off the beaten track' really underlines how very remote it must be!
That place is Hotazel - and yes, it is pronounced 'Hot as hell'!
Hotazel is a small manganese mining town about 65km from Kuruman on the road to the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park. The town is operated by BHP Billiton, and is a 'closed town', which means that only company employees and other approved service providers can live there.
As the name suggests, the climate is harsh: baking hot with occasional thunderstorms for relief in summer, and dropping down below freezing at night in winter. Hotazel sits in the transition zone to the Kalahari desert, and the parched grassland dotted with acacias bears testament to the low rainfall. I find it stark but beautiful - particularly in the golden light of early morning and late afternoon - but I can see only too well that it's certainly not going to be everyone's idea of a congenial landscape!
On the main N14 road between Kuruman and Kathu (towards Upington), close to the turn off for the Red Sands Country Lodge game farm, you may notice a windmill to the left of the road. Nothing unusual in that, there are many of them in the arid parts of South Africa.
Only this one is much, much taller than usual. And it’s on the very top of a ridge, which doesn’t make sense.
Cunningly, Vodafone have disguised a mobile telephone tower – which would be visually obtrusive in this area – as a windmill, which becomes part of the scenery. Heh he. Clever.