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Posted on: Wednesday, 23 October 2013
What to wear in South Africa

What to wear in the Northern Cape – The Northern Cape Packing List

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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.

Northern Cape Packing List


Summers in the Northern Cape are extremely hot and dry, particularly as one moves further north. Temperatures have been known to simmer at around 35 to 38 degrees Celsius, with little wind to cool it down. In extreme cases, it has soared to beyond 42 degrees. There is very little rainfall at any time of year, but summers are particularly dry. Winters, on the other hand, are extremely cold and snowfall during July and August is fairly common. While still dry, this period is beautiful, and well worth a visit for those that do not long for the African sunshine.

Springtime in the Northern Cape Province is an awesome sight. The arid countryside explodes into fields of colour as wild flowers blossom in a vibrant carpet of reds, yellows, oranges, pinks and purples. This is a lovely time to visit this part of South Africa, as the temperatures are cooler and the countryside magnificent. (See the Namaqualand Flower Route).

The northern parts of the province often experience impressive electric storms, which are integral in infusing the soil with important nutrients. These make for excellent natural displays of power. What to wear in the Northern Cape – The Northern Cape Packing List:

What to Pack:

ummer (December to March):

For those braving the sweltering Northern Cape summer, protection from the sun and heat has to be top priority. Pack clothing that, while light and breathable, covers the skin to prevent sunburn. Carry plenty of drinking water when travelling or exploring this region.

  • Swimming costumes are a must
  • A hand-held fan or spritzer bottle
  • A wide-brimmed hat
  • Sunglasses that shield the eyes from the sun effectively
  • Light, cotton clothing (shorts, skirts, tops, t-shirts, and summer dresses are ideal)
  • Comfortable walking shoes for climbing and walking

Winter (June to August):

Prepare well for the icy winters of the Northern Cape by bringing plenty of warm clothing along, especially for night times.

  • Jeans, corduroys or similarly warm, weighted trousers
  • Long-sleeved shirts
  • Vests and tights
  • Warm jerseys and jackets, lined with fleece, if possible
  • A scarf and hat
  • Warm, waterproof shoes
  • An umbrella / raincoat

Spring (September to November) and Autumn (March to May):

Pleasantly warm, these seasons bring with them sunshine. While they are usually more on the hot than side than the cold, there can be cooler breezes to lower the temperature at this time.

  • A pashmina or a light scarf
  • Full or three-quarter length jeans and pants
  • Short-sleeved and long-sleeved tops
  • A high-factor, good quality sunscreen
  • Comfortable walking shoes

Planning your trip to the Northern Cape

We’ve selected a few pages that will useful for planning your holiday to the Northern Cape.

Amelia Meyer


Amelia is a freelance writer and editor with a passion for all things travel-related. She is based in Knysna, but has studied, lived and travelled further afield. She studied Film, Media and Literature at the University of Cape Town. She began her solo career in the form of Voxate Writing & Editing in 2008 and loves every minute of it. Amelia believes in silver linings, lessons learnt and the responsibility to do what’s right. When she is not writing, she can frequently be found at the local animal shelter, on the bicycle trails of the nature reserves or sampling new restaurants with her family.