As South Africa’s largest province with the smallest population, the Northern Cape is a must-see destination, with vast open spaces and unique vegetation. From the ocean, the desert, the bush or towns rich with culture and history, the Northern Cape offers its visitors a variety of sights and activities to explore.
The area of Namaqualand, is transformed into a carpet of wild flowers during August and September after good winter rains and attracts botanists, photographers and other tourists from around the world to this magnificent spectacle.
The Upper Karoo has wide open plains and star studded skies. For astronomy enthusiasts a trip to Sutherland is a must where you can look at the starts through the Southern African large Telescope.
If you head north, you will reach the provincial capital called Kimberley, which grew out of a diamond rush by the discovery of the Eureka diamond close to the Orange River in 1866. In Kimberley you can visit the Big Hole for a guided tour and see the famous hotel that was built by hand during the diamond rush.
Further north you will reach an area known as the Green Kalahari along the banks of the mighty Orange River, lined with lush green vineyards and the edge of the desert, around the town of Upington. Some of the most popular tourist activities is padding trips down the river, river rafting, visiting game farms or a trip to the Orange River Wine Cellars. Also on the Orange River is the Augrabies falls, which is the largest waterfall in South Africa and is best viewed at the end of summer after good rains.
One of the major attractions of the Northern Cape is the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, which is one of the largest conservation areas in Southern Africa and one of the largest protected natural ecosystems in the world. They boast a population of lions, leopard and cheetah along with some other plains game. The park is characterised by rolling red dunes and grassland with brilliant starry nights, clear skies and and extraordinary sunsets.
On the north-west corner of the Northern Cape, sharing a border with Namibia, you will find the Richtersveld Transfrontier Park, that offers an entirely different landscape of rocky mountains with unique succulent vegetation. The semi-nomadic Nama people still have the rights to graze their sheep and goats here in this area. For 4x4 enthusiasts and nature lovers who wants to escape from the busy lives, the Richtersveld is a very popular destination.