Visit South Africa’s most unique and versatile province, the Northern Cape.
Sift through the shipwrecks on the Diamond Coast Route, listen to the ghost tales of Kimberley, track the Gemsbok of the Kgalagadi or simply stoep-sit on a sunny veranda. Drink in the winter magic of the Northern Cape.
Here are six reasons why the Northern Cape should be your family winter holiday destination.
1. Iconic Experiences
Visit one of the Iconic Northern Cape national parks like the famed Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Augrabies Falls or Mokala National Parks. In Kimberley do not miss the Big Hole and mine tour experience, Belgravia Historic Walk and the Anglo-Boer Sites at Magersfontein. Traverse the Go Ghaap! Route and visit the Eye of Kuruman, Mary Moffat Museum in Griquatown, Wonderwerk Cave in the Kuruman Hills and rock paintings just outside Danielskuil.
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Museum visits are ideal for children to learn about the region’s history and there happens to be a number of unique museums on offer in the Northern Cape. The McGregor Museum focuses on the siege of Kimberley and the natural history of the province. The Calvinia, Port Nolloth and Namaqualand museums feature the local history of their areas, while the inimitable Fred Turner Windmill Museum in Loeriesfontien showcases a unique collection of 27 windpumps and Africana memorabilia. When passing through Richmond, don’t miss the opportunity to take a walk around the town’s horse museum.
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3. Outdoor Experiences
The mild winter temperatures are perfect to enjoy all kinds of outdoor adventures. Hikers, cyclists and 4×4 enthusiasts can satiate their taste for adventure along the Richtersveld Route. Take a dip in the hot springs of Riemvasmaak or go river rafting and fishing on the Quiver Tree Route. If you’re a hiker, you’ll find no shortage of trails in the Karoo to suit all levels like the 10-day Tankwa Camino and the two-hour Calitzdorp Country Walk. Go horse riding or fossil hunting in Fraserburg on the Karoo Highlands Route, or discover the tales and legends of the famed shipwrecks whilst slack packing on the Namaqua Coastal Route. For the adrenaline junkies there’s also sandboarding on the gigantic dunes, donkey cart riding and guided night walks to discover the scorpions and spiders of the desert on the Kalahari Red Dune Route.
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4. Galactic Encounters
One of the greatest joys of being out in the middle of nowhere is the thrill of looking up at night and seeing thousands of stars. The size and lack of light and pollution makes the skies come alive in a breathing galactic display throughout the province. Top sights include Sutherland, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Carnarvon and the SKA project and Tankwa Karoo National Park.
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5. Winter Tastes/Cuisine
Unique winter culinary delights include veldkos of the Namaqua, wild rosemary infused venison in the Karoo and fireside dinners with roosterkoek, venison potjies, roasted leg of lamb and slow cooked tripe stew in the Kalahari.
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Winter Events Not to Miss
Make your trip memorable and attend a local event.
Words and Photography Courtesy of Northern Cape Tourism
A journalist by trade, features writer on occasion and now the digital editor of SA Country Life. The first chance she gets, Leigh will tell you about a podcast she was recently listening to and how you simply have to make the move from radio. In a previous life, she once taught English on Jeju which left her with an insatiable craving for kimchi.