Experience the Northern Cape, South Africa

With summer and the festive season fast approaching, Northern Cape Tourism has launched its Vaya Summer campaign to alert travellers to take a few Sho’t Left turns and explore South Africa’s largest province with a handy pocketbook tourism map.

The Northern Cape is a must-see destination especially for families or groups of friends as it has a unique set of diverse and inspirational tourism experiences for all to enjoy.  For their 2013/14 Vaya Northern Cape summer holiday campaign, the tourism team is highlighting the different highways throughout the province and turning the spotlight on some hidden travel gems that should be included on summer travel itineraries.

Travellers will be delighted with the recently opened R3112 between Douglas and Hopetown.  The 70km gravel road has been tarred and will significantly shorten the journey to Prieska or Cape Town and is seen as a major tourism asset for the province.  In addition, the newly tarred road between Vosburg and Carnarvon will also decrease travelling time from Kimberley to the Karoo and the Western Cape.

The Northern Cape is divided into five regions namely the Kalahari, Green Kalahari, Diamond Fields, Namaqualand and the Karoo. Each region will capture the imaginations of those who dare to explore it and its ancient mysteries.  The province boasts a total of six national parks, including two Transfrontier parks crossing into world-famous safari destinations such as Namibia and Botswana as well as six provincial nature reserves, two of the largest rivers in South Africa and three legendary deserts.

Discover diamond country along the N12 between Warrenton and Victorian West and relive the rich mining history of the Northern Cape.  A visit to the Big Hole and Kimberley museum complex is a must with authentic buildings from the diamond rush and the only operating vintage tram in the country.

Experience the essence of the Northern Cape by meeting its people and enjoying their warm-hearted hospitality.  Drive through the heart of the Hantam along the R63 from the bulb capital of Nieuwoudtville through Calvinia, Carnarvon, Williston to Victoria West.  For a cool respite, visit the impressive Nieuwoudtville Falls, stop for lunch at Hantamkraal in Calvinia for mouthwatering regional cooking, visit the Square Kilometre Array telescope outside Carnarvon or enjoy the best milkshake in the country at the Williston Mall.  The Victoria Trading Post and Karoo Deli in Victoria-West make ideal rest stops and the perfect place to stock up with local delicacies for the road.

Motorists traveling to neighbouring country Namibia will find loads to explore along the N7 Cape to Namibia highway.  Crossing from the Western Cape into the Northern Cape, visitors will encounter towns such as Garies, Kamieskroon, Springbok and Steinkopf that have captured the fascinating cultural diversity of the province.  Visit the Nama cultural settlement at Paulshoek near Kamieskroon or the graves of soldiers from the Anglo-Boer war outside the town.  For light refreshments and gorgeous arts and crafts, stop at the Immanuel Succulent Nursery in Steinkopf.

Get a glimpse of the Green Kalahari by taking the N8 from Kimberley and heading towards Upington via small rural towns such as Campbell, Griquatown (Griekwastad), where Proviand Restaurant offers a welcoming break and excellent local cuisine as well as Groblershoop.  From Upington, the Quiver Tree Food & Wine Route allows self-drive visitors to explore the customs, traditional cuisine and must-see attractions finishing at the awesome Augrabies National Falls.  En-route, visitors can enjoy Kalahari sushi at the Kalahari Gateway Hotel, wine and brandy tastings at Bezalel and Orange River Cellars, home-made cheeses, meat delicacies and much more. A stop at Die Pienk Padstal is an absolutely must to stock up with local delicacies, arts and crafts.

Heading westward from Kuruman, the N14 takes motorists via Upington through the heart of the Namakwa region towards Springbok.  The Eiland Holiday Resort in Upington, the Khai-Appel Recreation Resort in the bustling mining town of Kathu and The Eye natural spring in Kuruman provide refreshing rest stops. 

According to Sharron Lewis, CEO of the Northern Cape Tourism Authority, the tourism team is looking forward to welcoming visitors to the province.  “We would like to wish everyone safe travels and an enjoyable summer break.  We would like to encourage travellers to take a Sho’t left through the Northern Cape and experience this amazing destination,” concludes Lewis.

For more information, visit www.experiencenortherncape.com.