Explore South Africa’s Northern Cape.

By Muriel Romero

Do you want to go off the beaten track? We invite you to discover somewhere special, a place that combines magnificent landscapes and adventure-sport playgrounds and offers a rich archaeological and geological heritage. It is home to the world’s first people and contains the most coveted gemstone. Welcome to the Northern Cape, a region, which, behind an austere appearance, hides many treasures.

A wild nature

No less than 6 National Parks will make you happy if you are fond of nature and wild life. From the red sand dunes of the Kgalagadi Transfontier Park, one of the largest and unspoilt ecosystems in the world, to the gorgeous scenery of carpets of flowers in Namaqualand, including the rugged mountains of the Richtersveld Transfrontier Park, or the Falls of the Augrabies NP, you’ll have to come back more than once to discover Northern Cape’s splendours.

Northern Cape

Photo Source: South African Tourism 

A long story to tell

Not only is the Northern Cape home to the San (also called Bushmen) who are directly descended from the original population of early human ancestors, but there are several important prehistoric sites such as Wonderwerk Cave near Kuruman, from which two million-year-old stone tools were excavated. The region, the Karoo in particular, also provides a lot of Khoisan Rock-Art sites that can be seen in completely natural surroundings.

Much later, in the late 19th century, it is around Kimberley that history was written with the discovery of ‘Eureka’ (1866), the first diamond, which later gave birth to the ‘Big Hole’ along with the major battles of the Western Campaign during the Anglo-Boer war (1899-1902).

Northern Cape

Photo Source: South African Tourism 

A Playground for Adventurers

Adrenalin enthusiasts and open-space lovers are in their element in the Northern Cape. From abseiling to hot air ballooning to motorbiking, sandboarding or camel riding, everyone will find grounds for fun here.

Northern Cape

Photo Source: South African Tourism 

Hidden treasures

Under this harsh land, important ore deposits like zinc, copper, lead, silver, and, of course, diamond, hide. The latter is still exploited around Kimberley, but also on the West coast, in the Namaqualand Region, particularly on the restricted road to the north, from Kleinzee to Alexander Bay (area which extends to hundreds kilometres in Namibia).

Northern Cape at a glance

With its 362 591.41km² and 1.058 million inhabitants, it’s the largest and most sparsely populated province of South Africa (3 per sq km). There are 5 regions: Namakwa, Karoo, Green Kalahari, Kalahari, and Diamond Fields. The capital city is Kimberley. Other major towns include Calvinia, Colesberg, De Aar, Kuruman, Springbok and Upington. The major airports are found in Kimberley and Upington. The climate is hot to very hot in summer, and mild to cold in winter. There are 6 National Parks: Augrabies Falls National Park, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Mokala National Park, Namaqua National Park, Richtersveld Transfrontier Park, and Tankwa-Karoo National Park.

Northern Cape

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