Stretching across 360 000km2, the Northern Cape boasts remarkable natural beauty, wide-open spaces, a rich cultural history and world-renowned hospitality, which will transform any visit into a dream holiday. The wide array of activities and tourism attractions in the province means the destination appeals to market segments ranging from mature travellers to families, young adventurers and adrenaline junkies.
The MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, Mac Jack, indicated that the Northern Cape offers an unsurpassable selection of tourism offerings.
“The Northern Cape offers visitors extreme nature, extreme culture and extreme adventure, and each of our five regions has its own unique character and charm. Due to its geographical spread, the Northern Cape is a province that celebrates its diversity and as such appeals to a wide tourism audience,” he said.
“From the desert to the coast, the abundant animal and birdlife of our parks and reserves to our unique floral kingdom, the Northern Cape has something for everyone. In addition, we also boast great outdoor adventure activities, superlative incentive offerings, amazing cultural engagements and real slow living, so that visitors can really pick and choose itineraries that will suit their lifestyles and personal preferences.”
The Namaqua and the Karoo regions are perfect destinations for the over-50 travellers, with a variety of accommodation options ranging from guest houses and B&Bs to excellent caravan and camping facilities.
The Namaqua region's offerings include leisurely hiking trails; interesting historical attractions such as the Old Copper Way, commemorating the rich mining history of the province; the beautifully rugged |Ai|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park; stargazing at the SA Astronomical Observatory in Sutherland; and the magnificent floral beauty of the Namaqua.
Several tourism routes criss-cross through the province and are an ideal way to discover the hidden gems of the Northern Cape. The wide-open spaces of the Karoo and the warm hospitality of its people offer a laid-back travel experience.
For families, the Diamond Fields and Kalahari regions are perfect, with fun that is both entertaining and educational.
In total, there are six national parks and two of the country’s largest rivers in the Northern Cape, which makes water sports and game viewing some of the top must-do activities. A visit to the Big Hole museum complex in Kimberley is recommended, with a tram ride, interactive audiovisual presentations and an underground experience, while kids can even search for their own diamonds at the Diamond Dig and Skittle Alley.
The Green Kalahari beckons young adventurers, who are spoilt for choice with loads of affordable accommodation options such as backpacker lodges, camping sites and holiday resorts on river banks. Fun activities for groups of friends include river rafting down the mighty Orange River. For a rejuvenating stop-over, visit the Vanderkloof Dam and its legendary Klub Kudu pub, or go dune surfing in Witsand in the Kalahari. Discover a Kalahari Ferrari (better known as a donkey) during a visit to the Quiver Tree route outside Upington, or enjoy a sundowner cruise on a barge in Upington.
The Northern Cape is divided into five regions, with specific tourism routes that allow visitors to explore the culture, history and nature endemic to that area:
- The Kalahari Red Dune Route extends north from Upington into the toe-shaped protrusion of South Africa to the Namibian border and provides a fascinating gateway to the world-renowned Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
- The Kokerboom Food and Wine Route between Upington and Augrabies allows visitors to explore the Green Kalahari region
- The Richtersveld Route leads through the Namaqua region to take in a World Heritage Site and leads into the |Ai-| Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park
- The West Coast of the Northern Cape forms part of the Namakwa and is revealed through the Namakwa Coastal Route, which is a haven for 4x4 enthusiasts
- The Karoo Highlands Route traverses through the heart of the rural Karoo and introduces visitors to its incredible vast, open spaces and night skies.
These routes allow visitors the opportunity to really interact with local communities and that is where community beneficiation really becomes sustainable.
Experience the essence of the Northern Cape by meeting its people and enjoying their warm-hearted hospitality in the Karoo. Drive through the heart of the Hantam along from the bulb capital of Nieuwoudtville through Calvinia, Carnarvon and Williston to Victoria West. For a cool respite, visit the impressive Nieuwoudtville Falls, or the Square Kilometre Array telescope outside Carnarvon.
The Northern Cape has also undoubtedly earned its reputation as the capital of adventure sports. For action-packed adventures, try a bridge swing in Barkly West, rock climb or abseil at Riemvasmaak, or embark on an epic and extreme MTB marathon.
The world-class skate plaza in Kimberley has been home to the Kimberley Diamond Cup skateboarding world championships for the past five years and offers skateboarding fans an exhilarating street and vert course. Take to the skies and go skydiving or paragliding at De Aar, or join an extreme motorbike rally. Speed freaks can pull out all the stops at Hakskeenpan, the site where the Bloodhound Supersonic Car will attempt to set the next world land speed record.
In addition, the Northern Cape has also become one of Southern Africa’s fastest-growing business destinations, with economic potential and an investment profile that includes mineral resources, climate, astronomy, air quality and coastline.
The Northern Cape has an abundance of mineral resources and this stretches throughout the province. Deposits of diamond, lead, iron, zinc, limestone and gypsum are plentiful. Agriculture is the second most important economic activity, and the province produces some of the country’s finest quality agricultural products, such as livestock, horticultural produce and field crops.
The Northern Cape offers favourable biological conditions, excellent shore-based infrastructure, the presence of a number of pioneering private-sector mari-culturalists, a strong research and development base, and an ideal environment for investment and growth in this industry along the West Coast.
It offers a wide selection of excellent transport, logistics, communications and financial services, along with international-standard accommodation and facilities to suit every requirement for meetings, conferences, events and exhibitions.
Facilities such as the state-of-the-art of Mitta Seperepere Convention Centre in Kimberley add to the stunning portfolio available to the MICE sector in the province, with incredible breakaway opportunities in close proximity.
Get a sneak preview of the magic of the Northern Cape at stand DEC1B04 at the Durban International Convention Centre from 7 to 9 May.
For more information, visit Experience Northern Cape.