The largest of the country's provinces, the Northern Cape is slightly bigger than Germany consuming almost a third of South Africa's land area. Most of this is given over to great swathes of dry plains – Namaqualand, the Karoo Basin and portions of the Kalahari desert. [cont.]
Herein lies the province's secret. One would be mistaken to think of the Northern Cape simply as barren, arid land. The apparent harshness comes with good weather all year round, blue skies, one of the world's largest waterfalls, a burst of spring daisies that are world renowned, idiosyncratic, corbelled (bee-hive) houses, and an outdoor lifestyle that is difficult to beat.
The Northern Cape is also not all desert. The south and south-easterly Roggeveld and Nuweveld Districts are high-lying; the west coast, famous for its flowers, is hilly to mountainous with smatterings of granites and rock, whilst the central areas are true to form – flat, give or take a salt pan or two, with Kimberlite intrusions in the rocks of the Karoo that contain the province's hidden wealth – diamonds.
The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park, the Ai-Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Conservation Park, the Fish River Canyon, the Ai-Ais hot springs, the Augrabies Falls (with 19 separate falls) are all major reasons for visiting, as is the presence of SALT (Southern African Large Telescope) just outside the little town of Sutherland.
From the upper Karoo towns of Nieuwoudtville, Colesberg and Hanover, through the Kalahari's Kathu, Kuruman and Tswalu, to the Green Kalahari, Namakwa and Upper Karoo true 'dorp' style hospitality is available in various guises for all budgets.
Guest houses, bed and breakfast establishments, countryside estates, hotels, retreats, guest lodges and farmstyle accommodation all provide place to stay for the adventure traveller. Whether you want to experience guest farms, the Orange River Valley grape and fruit farming communities, Karoo towns like Carnarvon, Upington or Springbok, or the national parks and conservation areas with their lodges and self-catering accommodation options, there is much to choose from. [close]