Upington, Green Kalahari
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Upington is the chief city in the Northern Region of South Africa. This dry and hot area is characterised by desolate deserts and harsh landscapes. However, do not let that deter you. Upington boasts a marvellous oasis: the fertile and lush Orange River valley which runs through it. This shimmering valley provides a green ribbon through the harsh landscapes bringing life-giving water from the distant highlands of Lesotho. Upington was founded in 1884 and currently boasts a population of 72 198 inhabitants. It was named after Sir Thomas Upington, the Attorney-General of the Cape. It originated as a mission station established in 1875. The mission station now houses the town museum, known as the Kalahari Orange Museum. The museum is also the home of the famous donkey statue, which recognizes the enormous contribution that this animal made to the development of the region during the revolutionary days of the 19th Century.
In the 1870s this area was inhabited by Korannas under leadership of Klaas Lucas and of Klaas Pofadder. Back then these men were known as the river pirates living on the many small islands situated in the Orange River.
Upington is an ideal winter holiday resort with all the modern conveniences on the major routes to Namibia and Kalahari, Augrabies, Fish River Canyon and Northern Cape Bound by the Orange River and the Kalahari. It is the closest large centre to the Augrabies Falls which is arguably the king of South African waterfalls. As the commercial and educational centre of the Green Kalahari, Upington is much larger than any of the surrounding villages. The town is linked by air, rail and road to most parts of the country. Upington is a convenient stopover for those travelling on the Kalahari-Namaqua-Namibia (Namakwari) Route to and from Johannesburg and Cape Town. The town has excellent accommodation facilities, restaurants and shops.
Upington is a favourite hotspot for thrilling activities such as hunting, boating, fishing, golfing as well as waterskiing. For all the wine connoisseurs, spend the day at The Orange River Wine Cellars. This is a five-cellar co-operative. It is the largest in the country and the second largest in the world. It offers fantastic wine-tasting tours and tours of the facility. The South African Dried Fruit Co-Operative is a rather modern co-operative and the second largest of its kind in the world. Freshly packed dried fruit can be bought on the premises.
Upington’s central business district is a buzz with business activities. Its economy greatly relies on agriculture, tourism and the services industry. Its modern shops, excellent facilities and easy accessibility to popular hotspots make it the centre of this vast region. Upington boasts a fantastic transport system including an Airport. Upington Airport may be small, but it is by no means quiet. In fact, it does a brisk business in cargo including everything from live sheep and goats, to cars and mining equipment. Not to mention grapes! Approximately 1 million tons of grapes leave this beautiful town every year. This airport also boasts the longest runway in Africa at 4,900m (16,076ft).
Upington may seem arid and desolate, but it is in fact a bustling area boasting great beauty, fun and adventure. There is plenty to see, do and enjoy here.
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Visitorials: We Love South Africa
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We’ve asked those in the know to share their favourites things about Upington. Find out where locals go for the best cup of coffee, lunch suggestions and much more. We’re letting you in on all of their secrets ... I Love Upington because ...
Featured Attractions in (or near) Upington
The Khoi people called it 'Aukoerebis', the place of the Great Noise, referring to the Orange River thundering its way downwards for 60 metres in a spectacular waterfall. Picturesque names such as Moon Rock, Ararat and Echo Corner are descriptive of this rocky region, characterised by the 18 ... more information
With a completely different climate to the Cape Winelands, the Northern Cape produces a number of ranges of wines that boast unique flavours. The wine farms in the east have soils with a higher natural acid content and a lower pH level, which results in wines that are crisp and ... more information
In a part of South Africa that is, for all intents and purposes, practically desert, one does not expect to find a wine route. But the Orange River, the life blood of this part of the Northern Cape, supports row upon row of land under vine – an incomprehensible stretch of intense green on either bank, in ... more information
The Spitskop Nature Reserve was named after Spitskop, an impressive granite koppie just outside the small town of Upington. Consisting mainly of sandy flats interrupted by two rocky outcrops, the Spitskop Nature Reserve is worth a visit not only for its game but also for the dazzling flower carpets covering its ... more information
Surrounding the rugged Koranneberg Mountains in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa, Tswalu Kalahari Reserve covers 1000km² (100 000 ha) of land on the edge of the mysterious desert wilderness that is the Kalahari. In the Kalahari, the thornveld and sweeping sand dunes are home to some of the ... more information
Situated just outside of Upington on the N14 road to Johannesburg and Olifantshoek, next to Desert Palace Casino, is the Upington Golf Course. The Upington Golf Course is a suprisingly attractive, contrasting 18 hole grass course with a true "Kalahari" look and feel to it. There is a Pro Shop on site. Clubs and ... more information
The Witsand (White Sands) Nature Reserve is a 2 500 hectares island of brilliant white sands surrounded by a sea of regular Red Kalahari sand. Also known as Brulsand, or Roaring Sands. Geologists who have studied the region claim that the white sand owes its existence to an isolated range of hillocks that lie ... more information
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