Eat your Lamb out at the Hantam Vleisfees
And, it’s a vleisfees (meat festival) like no other. One that celebrates meat being braaied, curried, stewed in pita bread, on sosaties, and even in potjies.
For the past five years, my father expressed that he wanted to attend the Hantam Vleisfees but always mentioned it at the wrong time.
Then, he brought it up again in July. And I simply said, “Let’s go”.
The next day, I searched the Internet for accommodation that houses 5 people but with the festival that annually takes place at the end of August, all accommodations were fully booked. You have to at least book to attend this festival by like April.
Write it in your diary.
After several emails, Facebook posts and some calls, we had nowhere to stay. So I broaden the search and found accommodation 121 kilometers outside Calvinia in a town called Williston.
Booked. Paid. Done.
What is the Hantam Vleisfess?
Named after the Hantam Mountains in the area, it covers 36 128km² and includes Calvinia, the center, as well as Brandvlei, Loeriesfontein, Middelpos, Nieuwoudtville, and Swartkop.
The festival started 30 years ago with the intention to promote the sheep industry in the region. Even though it’s known for it’s Karoo mutton, farmers use this opportunity to showcase their lamb and sheep products and today, it’s the most popular festival in South Africa.
Where is Calvinia?
Enjoying 80% of starlight, Calvinia is a town in the Northern Cape. Basically, it lies half-way between Cape Town and Upington.
Calvinia is the region’s key growth point and one of the country’s largest wool-producing areas. Founded in 1851 on the Oorlogskloof River and named after religious reformer John Calvin, Calvinia lies at the foot of the Hantam Mountains.
We had no time to explore Calvinia itself but, definitely make a turn at the Calvinia Museum, explore the Hantam House, do various 4×4 routes and, visit the Akkerendam Nature Reserve.
Go at least once
It’s a far drive if you don’t live in the Northern Cape but, it’s certainly worth the trip to experience at least once in your lifetime.
Because it’s meat haven for many, the highlights of the festival are definitely the lamb chop eating competition. I mean, who wouldn’t want to see who can eat their plate of meat the fastest?
Other activities at the festival include the “sterkman” competition; testing their physical strength while stacking bags, carrying cement blocks and even pulling a bakkie with a rope.
Among the few competitions are music shows, sheep shearing, fashion, a six-kilometer race, plenty of food and lifestyle stalls and, so much more.
The atmosphere is on another level. Everyone is friendly, having the time of their lives with indulging in great food selections, drinks at the beer tent, dancing to live music and, just having a ball of a time in the Great Karoo.
Book for next year
The dates for next years festival is up: 28 – 29 August 2020. Tickets are only available at the gates of the Hantam Vleisfees.
On Friday 28 August, *entry costs R30 for those under the age of 18 and R70 for adults. On Saturday 29 August, *entry costs R60 for those under the age of 18 and R120 for adults.
Make sure to book accommodation well in advance to avoid disappointment. Here is a list of places worth looking into.
Have a look at Airbnb as well. You more than welcome to use my link if you a using Airbnb for the first time. Receive an R825 ZAR off your first trip.
For more information on the Hantam Vleisfees, visit their website with all the relevant information.
*Entry ticket fees are subject to change.
Until the next adventure.