Whether you’re travelling as a family, seeking adventure, love the outdoors, or you’re a history buff, the Northern Cape has something for everyone. Be sure to add these must-do experiences to your travel itinerary when visiting this province.
Head to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park (a new UNESCO World Heritage Site) and unlock the secrets of the bush in the company of the ‡Khomani San. Discover the ancient wisdom of the Nama of the Richtersveld (another World Heritage Site) or search for San rock art deep in the caves of the Diamond Fields. Explore villages, shop at craft markets, indulge in regionally authentic cuisine at local eateries and be transported to the world of the ancestors through campfire storytelling and dancing.
The Northern Cape’s environment is ideal for exploration and adventure. Head to one of the province’s numerous reserves, where you’ll find a whole range of action-packed activities: 4x4ing, hiking, trial running, biking, horse riding and dune surfing. Go kayaking on the mighty Orange River, or camp deep in the bush surrounded by wildlife and the famed black-maned lion of the Green Kalahari. The Northern Cape is more than an adventure; it’s an enriching life experience.
3. Family fun
The province’s mix of culture, adventure and wildlife (and a wide variety of accommodation options) makes it a top destination for families. It’s home to six national parks and two majestic rivers (the Orange and the Vaal). Here families can enjoy a variety of adventure activities, as well as game drives, bird watching and guided tours that will teach them about the region’s plant- and wildlife. And for those who would like to add an educational element to their holiday, there are numerous museums and must-see attractions: the Big Hole in Kimberley, the South African Large Telescope (SALT) and planetarium in Sutherland and fossils and dinosaur footprints in Fraserburg.
Unique and splendid, you’ll be spellbound by the Northern Cape’s natural beauty. Visit one of the province’s national parks: the Kgalagadi and |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Parks with their red and white dunes, the Augrabies Falls National Park with its thundering waterfall, the Mokala National Park near Kimberley, the Namaqua and Tankwa Karoo National Parks in the Namakwa region. Alternatively, explore one the six provincial nature reserves: Goegap, Witsand, Oorlogskloof, Akkerdam, Rolfontein and Spitskop. The Northern Cape’s natural beauty is enhanced by its enigmatic wildlife. From the small five to the big five, observing wild animals up close is an unforgettable experience.
Each spring, the dormant and arid winter plains of the Namakwa region are transformed into a kaleidoscope of colour with the arrival of the flower season. The best way to experience the wildflowers is on foot – perfect for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. To view the wildflowers, the best time to visit is from end July to early October, but this region has much more on offer than its annual floral display and is a great year-round destination. With more than 6 000 plant, 250 bird, 78 mammal, 132 reptile and amphibian species and an unknown number of insects, it’s the most biodiverse arid region in the world. Join a guided tour to learn more about this region’s unique and magnificent flora and fauna.
The Battlefields Route allows visitors to relive the South African War, which took place from 1899 to 1902. The Northern Cape played a decisive role in the war with the famous siege of Kimberley, and you can relive the battle, its victories and setbacks, at the Magersfontein and McGregor Museums. Travel the short distance to Doornbult Farm, just outside of Hopetown, to visit the Concentration Camp Cemetery. It was voted as one of the best Anglo-Boer War memorial sites in South Africa. Other nearby historical war sites include the Orange River Station, British military camps and a well-preserved block house.