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The Bloodhound Project Visiting Hakskeenpan

Visiting Hakskeenpan

We are receiving more and more enquiries about visiting Hakskeenpan to see BLOODHOUND SSC. We will try and answer as many questions as we can on this page, which will be regularly updated.

When will the Team be there?

We have a lot more work to do building and checking out the Car before we can even contemplate moving operations out to South Africa for high speed running, so it is difficult to predict the exact dates we will be there. The current plan is that we will be rolling out the Car and UK testing in Q2 2015, with the intention of being on Hakskeenpan in Q3 (July/August/September) 2015 ... but keep watching this page for more definite news as it becomes available.

The event

As with any big project, there is inevitably some jargon to take on board.  This Event will be like no other previous desert Land Speed Record campaign.  In the past (Thrust2 and ThrustSSC) we would simply arrive in a desert, put our security and support in place, and then crack on with the runs.  This time the Event belongs to the Northern Cape Province Government (NCPG).  In discussions we liken it to a fairground with a Big Top in the middle.  In this case Bloodhound is the entertainment in the circus ring.  Everything else with the Event is under the management of NCPG.  The aims of the NCPG Event are:

  • Promotion of tourism in the Northern Cape Province.
  • Development of Hakskeenpan as an international arena for extreme sports.
  • Promotion of STEM in schools.

The Event is broken down into Trackside and Landside areas and these two areas are separated by a fence line.  A phenomenal amount of work has gone into preparing the Trackside area which has been reported in detail on other pages of this website.  At some stage in Q2 of 2015, our advance party will take possession of the Trackside from NCPG and erect the Technical Camp in the NE area near R31.  This Technical Camp will be just inside Trackside and adjacent will be the Media Camp, with the Public Viewing Area adjacent on Landside.

Access to Trackside will be strictly limited to the Bloodhound team and essential support staff.  This limitation is in place in order to provide public safety and material security.  However, there will be opportunities for escorted tours onto Trackside on non-run days.  Also, during the Bloodhound deployment periods, aircraft movements in and out of Hakskeenpan will be strictly prohibited apart from the airborne paramedic and a couple of security helicopters.  All other aircraft movements will be diverted to either Upington Airport or the nearby Rietfontein airstrip.

It is the intention that an Event Management Company will be appointed by NCPG to organise and manage the whole Event.  We expect to sit-in with the appointed Company during its planning phase to ensure our plans dovetail.  In the Landside area we have suggested that there is provision for the following:

  • Domestic accommodation.
  • Campsite area.
  • RV parking and hook-up area.
  • Toilets, ablutions etc.
  • Waste management.
  • Emergency services ie fire/medical/police. Nearest general hospital is in Upington.
  • Public viewing area on landside aligned with the measured mile.
  • Catering.
  • Local merchandising.
  • Transportation services between Hakskeenpan, Upington and Rietfontein airstrip.
  • Entertainments for non-run days ie safari outings, astronomy classes, concerts etc.
  • Utilities
  • Potable drinking water
  • Etc etc.

 

Visiting Hakskeenpan

If you wish to visit Hakskeenpan prior to our deployment then there are good internal flights to Upington airport. A return flight from Johannesburg to Upington via Airlink is around £350.  From there you can hire a car (small car, 3 days circa £45) and drive up to Hakskeenpan (approximately 150 miles away).  However, there is now a gate in place at the public access road which is kept locked on non-work days.  We ask that you respect this; an awful lot of work could be undone unintentionally by driving onto the Pan.  There is plenty of accommodation at Upington and on the road north to the desert.  If arriving by light aircraft then you could possibly fly into Rietfontein airstrip but we have not yet visited the airstrip.  We believe it is Namibian controlled airspace.  Please refrain from landing on Hakskeenpan.  You will inevitably tangle with ongoing works services and have an interesting time explaining yourself to our 300 good friends working on the Pan!

Arrangements during our two deployments will be similar, although we are hoping that RV rentals will be more obvious in the Upington area.  We are also discussing with various travel groups the opportunities to promote a package holiday approach.

A Caveat or two!

All of the above is dependent on the timely completion of the Bloodhound Supersonic Car and specialist support vehicles.  It is also dependent on the successful completion of our 200 mph runway tests at Newquay Airport in Q2 2015.  We appreciate this makes your travel planning difficult so we encourage you to follow our website and social media for project updates.

Even if we are there and you are there, we can not guarantee you will see the Car run - there are many decisions to be made before the Car runs - are all the systems ready? is the driver ready? is the team ready? are the weather conditions good? etc etc.

Hakskeen Pan or Hakskeenpan?

"Hakskeen" is "heel" in Afrikaans, the language used in South Africa, and a "pan" in this sense is a natural depression in the ground. Hakskeenpan is probably named due to its shape on a map. In Afrikaans, you would say Hakskeenpan, but in English this becomes Hakskeen Pan.

The notice in the picture at the top of this page is a mis-spelling!

Where exactly is Hakskeenpan?

The actual co-ordinates for Hakskeenpan are -26° 49' 31.07", +20° 12' 28.72"

Have a look at the map below. Using the zoom out button (the one marked "-" in the bottom right hand corner), you will see that it is right in the North West of South Africa, not far from Namibia and Botswana.

View Larger Map

More information

For more information on the area, please visit the Northern Cape Tourism Authority website or download the article "Dare to visit the Northern Cape"


Register your interest

Please let us know if you are thinking of coming, or you have any other questions; we will publish more on this page as we get nearer to running at Hakskeenpan

We will keep in touch with you from time to time to inform you of progress