Grape Growing in the Kalahari….

Bordering on the Orange river for a great distance lie the grape producing farms of the Northern Cape… Wine, table grapes and dried fruit (currents and raisins) is the order of the day…

South Africa ranks as number two behind Chile in terms of raisin production in the Southern Hemisphere and it is regarded as a producer of high quality raisins for export market. About 70 % of grapes for drying are grown in the Northern Cape, along the Orange River (Lower: 12,003 Ha) and
Upper (26,000 Ha) and in Namaqualand (1,319 Ha), with the remainder coming from some parts of Western Cape. The most widely grown grape cultivar for raisins is Thompson seedless at 7,188 Ha.

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The Northern Cape Province weather is typically that of desert and semi-desert areas, characterized by high summer temperatures ranging from 33 degrees Celsius to 40 degrees Celsius with warm winter days and cooler nights and these weather conditions are ideal for seedless grapes, as they allow the fruit
to ripen properly.

There are about 1,250 sultana-grape growers in the Northern Cape Province producing three raisin types, that is the: Sultana raisins, Golden raisins, Thompson seedless raisins and these raisin types rank among the best in the world.

I sneaked onto a farm to get a few photos and to taste a few grapes…..

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Nothing seems to be wrong with the crop this year… except they were still a little sour, those that I tried…

The lands in places are protected by Dykes as flooding a couple of years ago did cause a bit of damage….

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When harvested the grapes are laid out in the sun to dry… they are spread on huge concrete floors and it does look strange… I hope they wash them before they pack them… (don’t worry they do, no bird poop in our packets)..

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It came as quite a surprise to me, to learn that we had in 2010, produced just short of 50 000 mega tons of raisins alone…. Wow…


49 thoughts on “Grape Growing in the Kalahari….

  1. Great shots and interesting information too 🙂 I happen to really like raisins — so this would be a fun destination to visit Grapes and wine are always cool too… Talk about abundance — your photos do this justice for sure ~ Love to you bd ~ R

    • Thanks Robyn… I’m not even a great lover of raisins unless they are included in a cake or biscuit of some sort… but when one sees the production figures… some one some where is using an awful lot…

  2. Great post … raisins !!!!!!!! I thought we was going to read about wine *smile
    Lovely shots again … didn’t’ know that Chile was that big exporter of raisins – like their wines very much.

    • I don’t drink so I can’t tell if the wine produce there is of any good… my Son and wife enjoyed it… I don’t even know if they export it… the raisins are that I know.. that huge Russian plane flies in to Upington to load the dry fruit.. it needs a long runway and Upington’s is the 4th longest in the world… something to do with the NASA space program an emergency landing spot for their reentry space planes or something….

      • Wow .. that is interesting about the runway´… learn something new every day. Then I don’t agree with the space program, but that is another matter – just like the wine is for you. You have lovely wine down there.
        May I ask how come you don’t drink. I drink very little and only in company – never a glass of wine or drink home alone.

        • I’m an alcoholic that has been dry for 25 years… so I no longer take a drink of any type… I still go to the pub with friends and it never bothers me .. I just drink non alcoholic drinks but still enjoy the socialising…

          • Understand … haven’t been there myself but through my job I got some basic training in alcoholism – because I became “godmother” to colleagues with drinking problems. It was to me they have to come and get their Antabuse. That was when working at sea .. our company put a lot of money into the project and I got some good training – so I know your situation’s platform. 25 years, well done and we don’t need alcohol to have fun really … only when not drink we notice how stupid drinking can make some people, most people I would say. Great job, because I know that where you are today have been some desert walk.

  3. I went on a few wine tours this past summer and I was completely enthralled by the grape growing aspect! So beautiful and miraculous how so many millions of beautiful, sweet, juicy gems can grow on such plain looking vines/bushes! Great post, bulldog!

    • One of our biggest rivers flows from almost the East of the country and empties into the sea on the East side… one has almost what I picture a similar situation as to the Nile river… good next to the water, not so further away…

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