Experience the Northern Cape, South Africa

This summer, make the festive season all about fresh air and freedom – go on a road trip through the Northern Cape. There’s at least eight different routes to traverse, spanning the entire province and taking in a range of experiences. 

So, the next time that you pump fuel into the 4x4’s tank, fill it to capacity if you want to explore one or more of these amazing routes in the largest province in Mzansi. 

Kalahari Red Dune Route

Got a thing for immense, uninhabited spaces with red dunes, wide-open skies and flat-topped acacia trees? Then the Kalahari Red Dune Route is the area of the province that you need to explore to satisfy your soul. 

The route begins in Upington and travels north towards the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park,a vast natural wonder made up of sparsely vegetated red sand dunes. It's home to the likes of wildebeest and meerkats, plus martial eagles that can be seen soaring through the skies of the pristine ecosystem. The ‡Khomani San Cultural Landscape, a Unesco World Heritage Site, forms part of the park.

Rest and recharge at places like the Molopo Kalahari Lodge and Kgalagadi Lodge, where you can be close to attractions that will expose you to the area’s history and culture. 

You can also let your hair down at !Xaus Lodge to enjoy your stargazing in comfort and luxury at an accredited International Dark Sky Sanctuary. In fact, !Xaus Lodge and the !Ae!Hai Kalahari Heritage Park in which it is located have been named by National Geographic Traveller as being among the top 25 places in the world to visit in its Best Trips 2020 list

Quiver Tree Route

Even though the Quiver Tree Route was named after one of the indigenous succulent aloes of the Kalahari, travellers will also appreciate the various species of other xerophytes that thrive in the arid zone of the Green Kalahari.

This food-and-wine route makes its way through several eye-catching small towns and settlements where adrenaline seekers can stop for some river rafting, fly fishing, 4x4ing, hiking and excellent birdwatching. Top attractions in the area include the Augrabies Falls and the Bezalel Wine & Brandy Estate, where visitors will be treated to a tasting of distinguished wines and brandies. 

Richtersveld Route

The Richtersveld Route has more than enough activities to satisfy a free spirit’s insatiable appetite for adventure. Travellers will appreciate the tremendous natural wonder that is the Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape, a Unesco World Heritage Site, for its mountainous desert, diverse plantlife and the cold breath of the Atlantic Ocean. 

There are ample restaurants and establishments in the area that will treat guests to traditional cuisine such as roosterbrood. The locals from the villages are friendly and always willing to entertain guests with their stories and magnificent dancing. 

You can also look forward to discovering some remarkable finds in the Port Nolloth Museum and be sure to visit the |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park, with its breathtaking landscapes. 

Karoo Oasis Route

There's more to the Karoo Oasis Route than just the diamonds that were once found in the capital city of Kimberley

You can also visit the dorpies along the N12 to discover and absorb rich experiences in places such as such as Britstown, Hopetown, Warrenton and Victoria West. Furthermore, there’s also the vast open spaces to appreciate during scenic drives and scrumptious food to try at a variety of road stalls you can buy from between stopovers. 

Karoo Highlands Route

The scenic and spectacular Karoo Highlands Route is an area of the Northern Cape where you'll have a unique experience of nature, while experiencing the Karoo’s distinctive small towns. One’s attention will be easily seduced by the eccentric design of the corbelled houses and you’ll be fixated on the serene sight of the area’s wide-open plains. Plus, in Sutherland, you'll find the South African Astronomical Observatory.

If exceptional festivities and celebrations are what your heart is after, you will not be disappointed by annual events such as the Hantam Vleisfees and Williston Winter Festival that have been etched into the calendars of the locals.  

The Cape to Namibia Route

Take in the fascinating small towns and Nama heritage that are unique to the Northern Cape along the Cape to Namibia Route

This route stretches along the N7 from Cape Town, through the Northern Cape and north to Namibia. Be sure to stop and savour the locals' hospitality in places along the route such as GariesKamieskroonSpringbokOkiepNababeep, Carolusberg, Steinkopf and Vioolsdrift.

A trip along this route also rewards travellers with sightings of stunning flora and fauna. Hikes and nature trails in the the Skilpad Rest Camp in the Namaqua National Park offer the visitor plenty of opportunities to gain more insight into the location while you reflect on life.

Other popular attractions along the route include the spring flower season, the Diamond Coast Shipwreck Route and casting fishing lines in the majestic waters of the Orange River to catch quality smallmouth yellowfish.

Go Ghaap Route

The magnificent Go Ghaap Route has everything a peripatetic person would appreciate about a destination. It presents curious travellers road-tripping through places like PostmasburgOlifantshoekKathu and Kuruman with an opportunity to see some of the prehistoric treasures of the province and to learn more about the ancient fossils discovered in the Wonderwerk Cave

This new heritage route is home to vast game reserves, towns with fascinating histories and amazing archaeological sites that gift explorers with new adventures that they can add to their libraries of stories.