Experience the Northern Cape, South Africa

The Northern Cape may be famous for its endless desertscapes and its annual wildflower displays in Namaqualand, but many people may not be aware that this province is also home to award-winning wine-producing vineyards that hug the banks of the Orange River along the Quiver Tree Route, as well as a number of craft breweries.

This beautiful, interesting route meanders through small towns and settlements such as Keimoes, Kanoneiland, Kenhardt, Augrabies, Upington and Marchand.

The best way to experience some of the culinary delights the province has to offer, including wine pairings, potstill brandies and gin fusions, is to take the road less travelled through the Quiver Tree Route. Start your journey in Upington, which is not only sheep country but is also the kick-off point for a route that’s all about good food, wine and all things fine.

In this part of the province, food and wine are a match made in heaven, and we highly recommend a stop or sleepover at one of the following establishments along the Quiver Tree Route:

Bezalel Wine & Brandy Estate

The Bezalel Wine & Brandy Estate has been operating since the 1940s and is located about 30km outside Upington along the N14 national road. Here, you can expect a world of wonder that offers tranquility, mouthwatering food, great wine and a variety of potstill brandies.

The vineyard boasts a wedding venue, visitors’ shop, garden café and brewhouse, making it the perfect stop during your Northern Cape adventures. Book an overnight stay at the estate’s 1930s Cape Dutch farmhouse that overlooks the Orange River, with its stunning lush green scenery.

Visitors can also check out the tasting room, where professional tasting experiences are offered, consisting of four products of your choice that vary from boutique wines to potstill brandies and infusions. You can choose a quick-pick tasting, a highlight tasting or a full tasting.

Bezalel Wine & Brandy Estate is running a special in August where you can book an overnight stay for R820 per couple. This price includes a complimentary wine and cheese platter. For bookings, phone +27 (0)54 491 1325 or email info@bezalel.co.za.

Orange River Cellars

Located in Middelpos, Upington, Orange River Cellars was established in 1965 and is the largest wine-producing cooperative in the southern hemisphere.

It offers 30 variants of award-winning dry white, natural sweet, dry red and dessert wines, made from grapes supplied by 900 producers situated along the Orange River.

At Orange River Cellars, expect an experience like no other: you won’t only get an opportunity to sample and buy your favourite wines, but you’ll also be able to pair your wine with some piquant Karoo cheese and mouthwatering Karoo lamb.

Be sure to pay this vineyard a visit. The estate’s tasting room pays homage to the region’s unparalleled beauty, through photographs, decor and high-quality video, making it the perfect escape from the noise of the outside world. The estate also offers visitors an array of non-vinous beverages.

For wine tastings, Orange River Cellars is open Mondays to Fridays from 10am to 5pm, and on Saturdays from 10am to 2pm. For wine sales, it’s open Mondays to Fridays from 10am to 6pm, and on Saturdays from 10am to 3pm.

For more information, phone +27(0) 54 337 8800 or email info@orangeriverwines.com.

Kalahari Craft Beer

Inspired by the Setswana word kgala (meaning great thirst), Kalahari Craft Beer was established in Upington in 2016. It currently offers three types of craft beer, all which have been inspired by animals indigenous to this region of the Northern Cape.

The Gemsbok Lager is inspired by gemsbok, which prefer dry areas, open savannah and desert grassland. The Puff Adder Weiss offers a strikingly crisp taste that helps quench the thirst brought on by the heat of a long summer’s day. It’s inspired by the puff adder, which has one of the deadliest venoms in the snake kingdom and thrives in areas with extremely hot temperatures.

The third beer offered at Kalahari Craft Beer is the Meerkat IPA, named after the famous desert meerkats that can be found throughout the Northern Cape, particularly in the dry Kalahari region.

For more information, email beer@kalaharicraft.co.za.

Die Mas van Kakamas

Die Mas van Kakamas is located 80km from Upington and has been in business since 1970, when it was established by the Hanekom family. The wine farm offers a great opportunity for downtime as visitors can expect to be treated to authentic Northern Cape hospitality with a range that includes export-quality table grapes, championship wines and brandies, as well as raisins, chutneys, jams and green figs – all products of the fertile soil along the Orange River in this region.

Wine tastings in the cellar take place six days a week (walk-ins are welcome but groups of more than 10 people must make a reservation). Whether you’re a lover of wine, potstill brandy, gin or dessert wine, you’ll discover that there’s something for everyone here.

The farm also has accommodation options, including self-catering chalets that come with a kitchen, bedroom, en-suite bathroom, air conditioning and DStv.

For travellers who enjoy gazing at the stars under clear night skies while cosying up next to a campfire or braaiing marshmallows, Die Mas van Kakamas has a campsite comprising 20 stands, dotted along the banks of the Orange River. The campsite is equipped with electricity points, ablution blocks and braai facilities. Here, you can also enjoy scenic views, birdwatching or fly fishing in the nearby river.

For more information and bookings, phone +27 (0)54 431 0245 or email accounts@diemas.co.za.

Bushman Brewing Co.

The Bushman Brewing Co. is a microbrewery located in Kakamas that’s responsible for producing the Choje Ale and Kalahari Blonde flagship craft beers. It’s working hard to put the Northern Cape right up there on the map with other South African provinces when it comes to producing quality craft beer.

The Bushman Brewing Co. is ideal for travellers who want to stop and take a break from a long day’s drive, enjoying some craft beer to help them cool down in the Northern Cape heat.

For more information and bookings, phone +27 (0)78 517 5762 or email info@bushmanbrewing.co.za.

It’s clear – thirsty visitors and those with adventurous palates are spoilt for choice when travelling along the Quiver Tree Route and through the Green Kalahari. Besides these fine food and wine establishments, travellers can also check out the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, the Augrabies Falls National Park and the Tswalu Private Game Reserve for adventure sports and game viewing, as well as running and hiking trails, and camping.