The Northern Cape of South Africa, defined by its rugged and arid landscape, presents the perfect backdrop for travellers hoping to get lost in the beauty of endless horizons.
It’s here where the deep blue sky meets the far expanses of openness, where little stands between the earth and the heavens. Where the night sky, unpolluted by the light of urban populations, transforms into a kaleidoscopic blanket of stars.
To the untrained and unadventurous eye, the Northern Cape may appear bland or even uninviting – the truth, however, is that the province’s harshness – exemplified by the intersection of culture, climate and history – stands eternal, as an ode to the great African outdoors.
Though outwardly stark, the province is unique in many different ways. It’s the largest province in South Africa, but it is also the most sparsely populated. Its borders stretch from the upper reaches of the West Coast to the desolate Great Karoo of the interior. In the North, its perimeters straddle neighbouring countries, Namibia and Botswana.
Its allure is multifaceted, akin to the diamonds which first drew optimistic prospectors to the region in the mid-nineteenth century. Before then, the isolated area was only inhabited by brazen frontiersmen, local Griquas and hardy game. Like all rushes of fortune, the influx of outlanders would forever leave an indelible mark on the region’s character, penetrating, quite literally, into the landscape.
Somewhere between the iconic canopy of the lonesome Kameeldoring and the shifting golden sands of the Kalahari, the Northern Cape, holds a distinctively refreshing experience for freedom hunters. True to form, the traveller discovers the Northern Cape as a diamond in the rough – unshielded from the elements, uncovered through the sweat of intrepid exploration.
Dress-down for the scorching daytime heat and layer-on for the below-freezing evening chill. Make sure your water bottles and fuel tanks remain equally full. Let the openness of the landscape and local hospitality guide you through a truly South African experience.
The pure size of the province (372,889 km2 in total) makes it an adventurer’s playground. Add to this the variance in terrain, climate and culture and, you’ve got, what most travellers consider, the full package. The diversity of the region caters to both international tourists, looking for an original African experience and local wanderers alike.
You could spend a lifetime exploring the length and breadth of the Northern Cape and still be left mystified by the time you’re done. In truth, and herein lies the region’s greatest pull, you’ll never truly be done discovering the Northern Cape.
What to do in the Northern Cape
While the Northern Cape generally attracts travellers to its wide array of unique geographical features, this isn’t to say that the province lacks recreational activities. On the contrary, between the region’s small town charm and rich cultural history, visitors are not left wanting for meaningful human encounters.
Where to stay in the Northern Cape
Where to eat in the Northern Cape