Driving north on the N10 past what once was elephant territory of the Eastern Cape, vervet monkeys forage alongside the road, monitor lizards sun themselves. Curiously, the further away you get from the windy city of Port Elizabeth – moving closer to the small town of Cookhouse – the more rapidly the steel blades on the windmills along the road spin.
It certainly is a good day to visit a wind farm, especially Africa’s largest wind farm, with an installed capacity of 138.6 megawatts. Up high on a hilly area of the farmlands known as Patryshoogte, where Merino sheep are bred for their award-winning wool, 66 gentle giants hum as the icy wind courses through the terrain.
These wind turbines, at 80m high, are almost as tall as a rugby field and each propeller is 44m long. The foundations alone required 60 to 70 cement trucks and 26 tonnes of steel each as they stretch two metres deep and up to 22m wide.