Charlize Theron and Sean Penn light up Northern Cape

2014-04-13 15:00

The arid Northern Cape is inhabited by birds, reptiles, herds of game, giraffes – and this week, by Benoni bokkie ­Charlize Theron and her actor boyfriend Sean Penn.

The pair kicked up some dust around Upington, and even took a trip to the Augrabies waterfalls.

Hollywood industry magazines reported this week that Theron will star in Penn’s new directorial effort, The Last Space, which is set in the desert landscape of Sudan.

Northern Cape Chamber of Commerce CEO Donovan Richmond took the Oscar-winning couple on a two-day tour of locations around Upington. Theron’s adopted son Jackson was not along for the field trip last Thursday and Friday.

Richmond described the pair as “just normal people”.

“I don’t want to make too much of a fuss and scare them off. I would really like to secure their business,” he said.

The Good Lie, which is about a Sudanese refugee being taken in by a straight-talking American woman, was also ­recently filmed in the region. It stars Reese Witherspoon.

“We really would like to facilitate these projects, it is a wonderful financial injection,” Richmond said.

Penn was seen scouting for locations in central Cape Town on Wednesday.

He turned heads while tucking into peri-peri baby chicken with local filmmakers at Dias Tavern, a restaurant in the Mother City.

Sitting at a leather booth next to a wall lined with Portuguese flags, bright soccer posters and murals depicting the feats of Bartolomeu Dias, he sipped cranberry juice and ended his meal with chocolate mousse.

Alayne Reesberg, CEO of Cape Town World Design Capital 2014, was at the restaurant for a business meeting when she spotted Penn.

“Oh yes, he is charming. We waved at him and he waved back, twice,” she said.

South African singer David Kramer was also having lunch at the taverna and joked that he had arranged to meet Penn there.

Penn (56) and Theron (38) were first spotted together in Hawaii in early January and have become a regular sighting since – often with Jackson in tow.

They drew stares while kissing furiously at a star-studded Oscar afterparty hosted by one of Penn’s ex-wives, ­Madonna.

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