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Northern Cape - Things to do / Attractions

Home to the ancient San people, the Northern Cape contains wide-open spaces, a beautiful coastline and a number of unique national parks offering the tourist a very different experience of the South African landscape.

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Major Tourist attractions:

  • Richtersveld National Park
    Created in 1991, the Richtersveld National Park is situated in northwestern Namaqualand. Here, the landscape is rough and exciting. Some of the more rugged landscapes have been given names such as Skeleton Gorge, Devil’s Tooth and Helskloof (hell’s gorge). This area is home to the fascinating Nama people – who are mainly sheep or goat-herders and live a simple life in these harsh surroundings. The Richtersveld is popular with 4x4 enthusiasts and nature lovers.
  • Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
    The Kalahari Gemsbok National Park, together with the Gemsbok National Park in Botswana, is Africa's first transfrontier game park, known as the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. It is one of the largest nature conservation areas in Southern Africa, and one of the largest remaining protected natural ecosystems in the world. The Park provides unfenced access to a variety of game between South Africa and Botswana, and has a surface area of more than two million hectares.
  • Augrabies Falls National Park
    One of the lesser-known game parks in the country is on the Orange River, which has Africa’s second largest waterfall that thunders down into a granite gorge giving a spectacular display. Adventure activities are par for the course at this attraction, including rafting, hiking and cycling as well as canoe trails.
  • Flowers, Flowers Everywhere
    During August and September, the area of Namaqualand is transformed into a brilliant carpet of wild flowers. The area is world-famous for its transformed landscape and floral beauty – and photographic safaris to the area are very popular with both local and international tourists.
  • Rock Art
    The province is rich in San rock art paintings that date back to time immemorial. The San were hunter-gatherers who lived off the desert, and their rich heritage has been preserved in numerous paintings found in caves all over the Northern Cape region.
  • Diamond Digging Country
    Kimberley boasts an excellent museum called the Kimberley Mine Museum. Part of the museum includes the viewing decks into the Big Hole, as well as a number of historic buildings. The old shops, bars, restaurants, churches and banks appear almost exactly as they were during the diamond digging days. Known as a `living museum’, a visit here is like stepping back in time to the days when Barney Barnato and Cecil John Rhodes were kings; and diamonds were there for the taking.
  • The Big Hole at Kimberley
    The famous five-hundred-metre wide cavity that sits at a depth of around 240m was dug manually by pick and shovel by diamond miners, and is known to be the largest man-made excavation site in the world. This hole remains a major attraction for visitors in this part of the world.
  • Trains and Trams
    The capital city's railway station is in Florence Street, close to the city centre. South Africa’s famous and luxurious Blue Train stops over in Kimberley, en route to Cape Town or Johannesburg and passengers can board or disembark at Kimberley’s quaint station. The Kimberley Tram Service - a vintage tram dating back to the turn of the century, carries passengers from the City Hall to the Mine Museum, daily.
  • Wonderwerk Cave
    Not too far from Kuruman, lies the Wonderwerk Cave.  A keen stomping ground for archaeologists and interested tourists, the site is said to be home to human life dating back nearly a million years. This area also includes precious artifacts, fossils and San Rock art.
  • The Kalahari
    The Kalahari is home to endless spaces and huge African skies. This arid wasteland gets its name from the San word `kglagagadi’, which means ‘thirsty land’. The almost lunar landscape boasts a wide variety of unique flora and fauna.
  • Small-town delights
    The Northern Province consist of many small towns that are fast growing in popularity with their arty settings. Places such as Nieuwoudtville, Calvinia, Poffadder and Springbok are definitely worth a visit, especially for their warm-hearted local hospitality.
  • Orange River Adventures
    For adventure-junkies, canoeing down the Orange River is one way to get an adrenalin rush in this part of the world.  The Orange river offers a number of aggressive rapids to go down which adds to the roughing-it ambience. Trips down the river can last anything from two to six days and are organized by a number of accredited operators.
  • Pella Mission
    Pella Mission is truly in the middle of nowhere. Approximately 150km from Springbok, Pella boasts a striking yellow cathedral that was built by French missionaries in the late 1880’s. The cathedral is still in use, today, and a central focus for the religious community in the area.
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