This pricipal Town of the Green Kalahari is 820km north of Cape Town and 875km west of Johannesburg.
By uniting Christian Schröder’s 1871 mission station, Olyfenhoutsdrift and the Upington police station, the town of Upington, named after the first Attorney General of the Cape, Sir Thomas Upington, was formed.
Originally known as Kharahais, bound by the Orange River and the Kalahari desert, Upington is the principal town and commercial, educational and social centre of the Green Kalahari, owing its prosperity to agriculture and its irrigated lands along the Orange River.
Upington enjoys a summer rainfall and a hot climate. An ideal winter holiday resort, its facilities are excellent and the countryside contrasts semidesert reds with the emerald and olive greens of fertile vineyards. Linked by air and road to most parts of the country, the town is accessible, offers excellent accommodation and has a well-developed commercial infrastructure.
On the Kalahari-Namaqua-Namibia (Nama-kwari) route to and from Johannesburg and Cape Town, it is a convenient stopover for those travelling to the Augrabies Falls National Park, the Fish River Canyon and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.
Camel and Rider Statue, TheIn front of the police station, the statue honours the ‘mounties’ who, on camels, patrolled the harsh desert territory.
Date Palm AvenueThe attractive entrance to Die Eiland Holiday Resort was declared a national monument in 1982. The palms were planted in 1935 by officials of the Department of Lands. The avenue of more than 200 date palms planted 9m apart is 1 041m long, making it one of the longest and densest palm avenues in the Southern Hemisphere.
Dutch Reformed ChurchSchröder Str. Completed in 1911.
Hortentia Windmill, TheBuilt by the Reverend Christian Schröder in 1879, it can be seen from the bridge on the Groblershoop road.
Kalahari KuierfeesTest yourself in the SAD-triathlon before shopping ‘til dropping at fleamarkets offering everything from the ?delectable to the divine. The Kalahari Kuierfees is loads of fun with first-class entertainment. Tel 054 332 1100.
Kalahari Oranje Museum, TheBuilt in 1875 as a church and mission station, it houses domestic items reflecting the history of Upington and the Lower Orange River. The monument of the donkey, sculpted in bronze, symbolises the unselfish contribution made by this beast of burden in developing the Lower Orange River Valley during the pioneering days. Tel 054 331 1373
Memorial Stone of Abraham ‘Holbors’ SeptemberRegarded as the founder of the region’s irrigation system.
Microlight and Gyro FlightsExperience the spirit of freedom. Tel 083 717 2340
Mill Community Craft CentreInhabitants from Raaswater and Paballelo earn an income by creating intricately decorated crafts. Tel 054 332 6064.
Oasis Development CentrePeople with disabilities can learn life skills by means of selling handmade arts and crafts and organising donkey cart drives. Tel 054 339 0662.
Orange River Wine CellarsA short drive from the town centre into the industrial area takes you to the five-cellar co-operative - the largest in the country and the second-largest in the world! Wine tasting and tours are offered. Tel 054 337 8800.
Roman Catholic ChurchLe Roux Str. Built in 1861 and renovated in 1947, it has been a national monument since 1982.
Sakkie se ArkieA sundowner cruise on the Orange River. Tel 082 575 7285.
Scotty SmithGeorge St Leger Gordon Lennox, legendary rogue and Robin Hood of the Northern Cape, died in Upington during the 1918 flu epidemic and is buried in the local cemetery.
Semiprecious StonesYou can view rainbow-coloured stones fashioned by the ancient earth at the Museum Office and in the foyer of the Oranje Hotel. Stones include beryl, amethyst, agate, tourmaline, aquamarine, jasper, rose quartz and tiger’s eye.
Siyanda Cotton GinneryCotton cultvated in the Siyanda irrigation region is considered among the purest in the world. Tel 054 334 0015.
South African Dried Fruit Co-operative, TheOn the Louisville road, the co-operative is the second-largest and most modern of its kind in the world. More than 8 000ha of sultanas and 1 000ha of hanepoot grapes are cultivated on the Lower Orange River. Freshly-packed dried fruit is sold at the Kalahari Oranje Museum premises. Tel 054 337 8800.
Spitskop Nature ReserveA small game park about 13km north of Upington, stocked with gemsbok, zebra, springbok, ostrich, eland, hartebeest and mountain zebra. Tel 054 332 1336.
Upington 26 monument
This monument was erected on the field in Paballelo township where about 3 000 anti-apartheid protesters were teargassed by riot police in 1985. A municipal policeman living nearby was killed in the ensuing chaos.
The “Upington 26” went on trial for participating in what was controversially deemed to be a crowd killing, under the doctrine of common purpose. Twenty-five were found guilty of the constable’s murder, with 14 of them sentenced to death, and one was convicted of attempted murder.
The case sparked an international outcry, and the death sentences were later overturned, with most serving prison terms and subsequently being released as political prisoners.
Kalahari Oranje Museum Complex,
Schröder Street, Upington 8800
Tel: +27 (0)54 332 6064