We arrived in Kimberley on a mid-Sunday afternoon at its brilliantly atmospheric railway station. As you descend onto the platform you are immediately conscience of how wonderfully different it is from other modern day stations. The metal latticed roof structure is designed to allow plenty of natural light in and the wooden benches perfectly accompany the calligraphy signage boards that announce your arrival with all the flair of a bygone era. Stone walls and white arches guide you out and into the Capital of the Northern Cape. Continued
This is a harsh, unforgiving landscape not given to agriculture which makes it unique in South Africa. But amongst the arid starkness of the Karoo and Kalahari, which make up the majority of the Northern Cape province, there are flashes of life unique to the area … MORE \ Discovering the Northern Cape \ To find a place to stay visit Northern Cape Accommodation or Northern Cape Hotels. (Popular searches for accommodation include Kimberley and Upington).
The Northern Cape has a unique climate, thanks to its being situated higher up and along the Namibian border. It is home to part of the immense Kalahari Desert, which means that a large proportion of the province is either arid or semi-arid. It is hot and dry. While this may not yield a particularly green and lush vegetation that is typical of provinces like Mpumalanga, the Northern Cape certainly does boast a beauty all its own. Continued
When you think of Kimberley, you probably think of the ‘Big Hole’. Although this is probably one of the main highlights here, Kimberley has many other exciting attractions, upcoming events and wonderful things to do.
Originally a diamond mining town, Kimberley’s ‘Big Hole’ was hand dug in the plight to mine diamonds hidden deep below the surface. The Big Hole is just over a kilometer deep and has a total surface area of 17 hectares. Not only is the view from the lookout point here simply breathtaking but the De Beers mine tour that takes you underground is absolutely fascinating and definitely worthwhile. Continued
The 2 200km long Orange River, the leviathan of Southern African Rivers, whips and winds its perennial tail through an incredible array and variety of landscapes beginning in the appropriately named Drakensberg (Dragon Mountain) catchment area. Along its course the Orange plays a vital role to the people of South Africa, Lesotho and Namibia and is also responsible for the squiggled international border between the former and the latter.
Excepting the 193km to the west of it, the Orange runs the breadth of South Africa culminating in an extravagant exit into the Atlantic at Alexander Bay into which it pours it’s orangey silt, from which the river takes its name, at an average rate of 50 000 litres per second. Continued
South Africa is full of magnificent hotspots for adrenalin-addicts to explore, and the province of the Northern Cape is no exception. In fact, it is one of the favourite destinations for those that love pushing themselves to the limit in terms of adventure sports.
The landscape of the Northern Cape is as varied as it is beautiful. Although this is the largest province in the country, it is also the most sparsely populated; promising vast expanses of open countryside for the adventurous among us to enjoy.
Some of the natural resources that create real highlights for visitors are the Augrabies Falls, the entire Namaqualand region and the magnificent Orange River. Having these at your fingertips means plenty of opportunities for just about any adrenalin-inducing fun imaginable. Continued
Kimberley is a town filled with diamond mines, haunted corners, home of Anglo-Boer monuments and gentleman’s clubs where the rich and famous all convened. Visiting Kimberley is like taking a tour of big parts of our country’s rich history. Aside from getting an education and looking into the past, you can enjoy the wide open spaces of a national park close to town. Here are a few things to do whilst there:
This has got to be Kimberley’s greatest claim to fame- the world’s largest man-made hole which cultivated vast amounts of diamonds. Visit the site to see where many miners spent their days digging up this natural treasure which drove an industry and fed South Africa’s economy. You can also take a look at the Lady 616 which is the world’s uncut diamond. Continued
Prieska is a very small town that is perched along the Orange River in the Northern Cape. It is 240 kilometres south of Kimberley and its famous Big Hole. Although having been occupied by indigenous South Africans, such as the Bushmen, for generations, it was only made a formal municipality in 1878.
Little was known about Prieska until the late 1800’s and the earliest part of the 1900’s. At this time, farmers began to travel to Prieska when the salt pans flooded. These farmers built homesteads, established farms and set up a small community, but never developed the town much further than a few churches. Then, during the devastation of the Anglo-Boer War, Afrikaners spread throughout the area now known as the Northern Cape Province. Later, they retreated to the Transvaal (or Gauteng as it is now called). Continued
Colesberg is a small Karoo town that lies along the N1, between Cape Town and Johannesburg. Being situated amidst tall koppies (including the famous Coleskop) and sheep farms that stretch for miles through the rugged South African terrain, Colesberg truly is a haven of a very special kind of beauty.
When mission stations were built in this area in the 19th century, they soon attracted needy Khoisan people. Farmers got nervous about the stability of their property and insisted that the area be declared their property. So, in 1830, the town was named Colesberg after Sir Lowry Cole.
This history permeates the town’s atmosphere and its people. Many of the buildings, especially the churches, showcase the architecture and heritage of these past times, giving visitors a first-hand perspective of the politics and goings on of more than a century ago. Continued
The Northern Cape is an exquisite province, where peace and tranquillity meet rich history and magnificent landscapes. As South Africa’s largest and most sparsely populated province, vast expanses seem to carry on endlessly, apparently untouched and pristine. The Orange River is a major part of the Northern Cape’s landscape, feeding the plants and providing life-giving water to the animals around it; providing a stunning spectacle to those sitting on its banks.
The Northern Cape borders Botswana and Namibia, which means that it is particularly accessible to travellers from African countries. In addition, being situated here also means an abundance of natural fauna and flora, which are often the lure for tourists from around the world. Continued
The Kalahari Desert is a huge area of land that extends from the Northern Cape of South Africa up into Botswana and Namibia. It is believed to be some 500 million years old and is home to a number of fossils that have fascinated researchers for decades. It measures almost a million square kilometres.
Despite being arid, with only a small amount of rainfall every year, the Kalahari Desert is actually home to a huge variety of plants and animals. Flora includes Acacia trees, Kiwano trees, short grasses, and the famous Baobab Tree. Of course, because the area of this desert is so extensive, the vegetation and biomes change somewhat from one area to the next. For instance, the centre of the Kalahari experiences a lot more rainfall and is, therefore, a lot more lush and fertile. Continued
The magic of a blanket of beautiful blooms comes alive in Namaqualand between July and September of every year. In fact, this part of the Northern Cape is actually fairly quiet for the rest of the year. However, come winter, visitors from all over the world flock to see the magnificence of the blooms as they emerge from their summer sleepiness and grace the extensive countryside with their vibrant colours and breath-taking aroma.
There are more than 4 000 different plant species, but it is up to the weather to decide which will flourish in any given year. This means that even regular visitors that frequent the area year after year will still enjoy endless variety every time they visit.
A tour of the Skilpad section of the Namaqua National Park is the best way to get the most out of viewing the flowers for which this part of South Africa is famous. Various tours are on offer, depending on the needs, wants and availability of the visitors.
Whether you want to take some time to take a private walk through the flowers, a scenic drive in your own vehicle, indulge in a picnic at the viewpoints or enjoy a leisurely lunch at the restaurant, Namaqualand offers visitors plenty to do and see. Continued
KIMBERLEY IS BEST KNOWN FOR the Big Hole, the largest hand-dug excavation in the world.
GET YOUR PICTURE TAKEN in the old Town at the Big Hole, to look like a film star from the diamond era.
THE BEST flamingo PICTURES CAN BE TAKEN AT Kamfersdam, just outside Kimberley on the Johannesburg Road.
OTHER HAPPY SNAPS in the Old Town at the Big Hole. Continued
The Northern Cape can best be described in terms of its aridness and the crimson, sun-kissed sand dunes of the Kalahari. But this exceptionally beautiful, less visited, and vast part of South Africa that lies between the North Western Cape and Namibia works its hidden charms on those who visit. You cannot leave unaffected.
The incredible flower season aside (for there is much written about the beauty of the succulent Karoo) the Northern Cape reveals a few gems, and manages to remain something of a ‘secret’ from the rest of the world. But we’ll share our favourite top 10 places to visit and activities with you – Explore the Northern Cape – 10 Top Things To Do, Places To Visit: Continued
GET YOUR PICTURE TAKEN AT the Camel and Rider statue (which commemorates the mounties and their mounts who policed this harsh desert territory).
THE BEST nature PICTURES CAN BE TAKEN AT sunset along the river.
OTHER HAPPY SNAPS AT Date Palm Avenue (declared a national monument in 1982. The length of the avenue is 1041m and it consists of 200 date palms – this makes it the longest and densest palm avenue in the Southern hemisphere). Continued
KATHU IS BEST KNOWN FOR the huge mining industry in the Northern Cape and of course our famous Camelthorn forest. The forest is only one of two in the world and has awareded protected status by the government.
GET YOUR PICTURE TAKEN AT standing next to the huge trucks at the shell garage when you enter Kathu from the N14. these are old and Kumba Iron ore (old Sishen) have much bigger ones now.