The Northern Cape includes spectacular attractions like the Namakwaland flowers, the Richtersveld Heritage site, Witsand, the Kuruman Eye, Boesmansgat and Wonderwerk Cave.
If you love wide open spaces, wild flowers or Africa’s big cats, you’ll love South Africa’s Northern Cape province. Among its many attractions, the Northern Cape is home to one of the world’s most important diamond mining towns, a most impressive floral display, and famous black-maned lions.
Most of the Northern Cape province lies south of the mighty Orange River and comprises desert and semi-desert landscapes. The province is characterised by vast arid plains with outcroppings of rocks, with the cold Atlantic Ocean forming its western boundary.
Although slightly off the beaten track, there are many tourism highlights located in the Northern Cape. During August and September, the area of Namakwaland (previously Namaqualand), is transformed into a brilliant carpet of wild flowers. This region is world-famous for its floral exuberance and photographic safaris to the area are very popular.
The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is one of the largest nature conservation areas in southern Africa and one of the largest protected natural ecosystems in the world. The park has a surface area of more than 2 million hectares and is one of the best places in the world to see rare black-maned lions. Once you have experienced its sheer size, clear skies, flamboyant sunsets, brilliant starry nights and incredible silence, you will never forget it.
The Richtersveld National Park is situated in northwestern Namakwaland. Here, the landscape has a starkness to it that most visitors find fascinating. The area is home to the Nama people, who are mainly sheep or goat-herders, and live off the land. The Richtersveld is popular with 4x4 enthusiasts and nature lovers who truly want to get away from it all.
The diamond town of Kimberley is also in the Northern Cape and home to the Kimberley Mine Museum. Part of the museum includes viewing decks overlooking the famous Big Hole, as well as a number of historic buildings. Known as a 'living museum', the old shops, bars, restaurants, churches and banks appear exactly as they were during the diamond digging days.
How to get there:
Best is to use Kimberley as a starting point to explore the Northern Cape. Kimberley has direct air links to Cape Town and Johannesburg.
To explore the Northern Cape at your leisure, it is advisable to hire a car. Be prepared for long trips though: the Northern Cape is a vast area and it can take many hours to travel between destinations.
Best time to visit:
The Northern Cape is a semi-arid region with little rainfall in summer. The weather conditions are extremely cold in winter and extremely hot in summer. Factor this into your planning.
Where to stay:
The region offers a full range of accomodation from backpackers and B&B's to hotels and guest houses.
What to eat:
Enjoy traditional South African cuisine.
Pella Mission is truly in the middle of nowhere. Approximately 150km from Springbok, Pella boasts a striking yellow cathedral that was built by French missionaries in the late 1880’s.