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Northern Cape Accommodation

Like a Diamond in the Rough

The Northern Cape province, a seemingly vast barren landscape, is perhaps one of the least explored regions of South Africa and remains, for the serious adventurer, an everlasting challenge.

This landscape is periodically plagued by drought and scorching sunshine yet it has been astonishingly blessed with some of the most dramatic displays of natural beauty. Nowhere is this more visible than in Namaqualand, one of the six floral kingdoms of the world. In spring, the plains burst into flower creating a breathtaking carpet of brilliant colour.

Star of South Africa
The discovery of an 83-carat 'Star of South Africa' marked the beginning of the world's greatest diamond rush and in Kimberley, resulted in what was to become known as the 'Big Hole', the largest hand-dug excavation in the world. Many of the old buildings are still in existence, museums abound and part of the original 'rush town' or 'open-air museum' has been reconstructed alongside the 'Big Hole' providing an attraction in itself.

Place of great noise
Equally spectacular in the province are the Augrabies Falls, fittingly named from the Khoi word which means 'place of great noise' and which is the focal point of the Augrabies Falls National Park. The mighty Orange River thunders over a granite cliff into a ravine some 200m deep, forming the world's sixth largest waterfall.

Beyond the Orange river lies the Kalahari Desert measuring some 120 million hectares which include parts of other countries such as Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe. Of the 12 owl species and 67 raptor and vultures species found in South Africa, the Kalahari is home to 7 and 40 respectively. The Augrabies Falls and the Kalahari Gemsbok National Parks are among the best known of the Kalahari reserves.

Across the Northern Cape there are wonderful opportunities for adventure such as river rafting, hunting, hiking or 4x4 trails as well as scenic drives and game viewing. Other treasures include ancient cave and rock paintings, late Stone Age artefacts and more recently, monumental reminders of the Anglo-Boer conflict (1899 - 1902).
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Explore in pictures...

The Quiver Tree, sometimes referred to as the Kokerboom is found throughout the Northern Cape, but prefers the drier climate of the northern regions
What's going on there? Meerkats looking quizzical as usual in the Tswalu Kalahari Reserve
Orange River Canyon, Augrabies National Park
Kokerboom or Quiver Tree, Augrabies National Park, Augrabies
Augrabies Falls in full flow. Water volume is seasonally dependant, so be sure to check the status before traveling if it is an important factor
Typical landscape for the area near the Augrabies National Park
Northern Cape scene - surprisingly green
Typical dirt road in the Calvinia area. Roads are generally in good order and do not require a 4x4
Calvinia hantam houses at 42-44 Hope Street, Calvinia. Originally one of the gabled houses erected near the Dutch Reformed Church. Possibly the first erf in Calvinia to be measured
A Dutch Reformed Mission Church, Carnarvon
KAT-7. Square Kilometre Array site, north of Carnarvon. The SKA is a global project with ten member countries that aims to answer fundamental questions about the origin and evolution of the Universe
Dutch Reformed Church, Colesberg. The foundation stone was laid on 29 November 1830 by W C Rhyneveldt
Windmill in the Karoo near Colesberg
Coniston House, 3 Ventershoek Street, Colesberg. This double-storeyed building, predominantly in the Georgian style, was erected in 1835 by Thomas Plewman. He was an Irish Settler who emigrated in 1820 to South Africa on the ship Chapman
Gideon Joubert House, 9 DÚrban Row in Colesberg. Property first transferred from the DR Church to Gideon Daniel Joubert on 9 February 1836
Reformed Church, Stockenstrom Street, Colesberg. The foundation stone of which was laid on 15 March 1862, was built in an adapted neo-Gothic style. It is one of the few remaining sandstone buildings in Colesberg
Kemper Museum, Rhyneveld Square, Colesberg. The erf was purchased by the Colesberg Bank in 1861
View from the nearby "Trappieskop" looking down on the Dutch Reformed Church, Church Street, Hanover. The town is named after Hanover in Germany, and was established in 1854
Dutch Reformed Church, Church Street, Hanover
Kakamas district landscape. The town of Kakamas was founded in 1898, at an easy crossing point on the banks of the Orange River
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Vineyard in Kakamas. Date palms can be seen in the background. The area is naturally dry and perfect for the cultivation of fruit such as dates
Kuruman is regarded as the “Oasis of the Kalahari”. It receives its water source from a spring called “The Eye” which produces about 20 to 30 million litres of water daily
A sign at "The Eye" in Kuruman, with background information
Loxton was originally a farm called Phizantefontein, which was owned by A.E. Loxton, whom the town is named after. It is now one of the largest garlic-producing areas in South Africa
The Dutch Reformed Church that stands in the Loxton town centre was constructed in 1924
Norvalspont - Afrikaans for Norval’s ferry, named after a Scot who built a ferry here in 1848. Home to the Norvalspont Concentration Camp Memorial, a stark reminder of darker times during the second Anglo-Boer war (1899-1902)
Norvalspont Concentration Camp Memorial. The camp was established in November 1900 as part of a British campaign to counter the highly mobile Boer guerrilla units, who without uniforms were able to blend in as regular civilians
Okiep is a small town, and in the 1870s ranked as having the richest copper mine in the world. Rumours of the area being fabulously rich in the ore drove Governor Van der Stel to personally lead a major expedition in 1685
O'okiep Copper Company 0-6-2 Clara Class no. 4 "Clara" preserved at the Nababeep Museum
Port Nolloth is a town and small domestic seaport in the Namaqualand region. The port was previously a transshipment point for copper from the Okiep mines, and diamonds from the Namaqua coast
Stretching the legs on the beach at Port Nolloth, Northern Cape
The museum at Port Nolloth. An interesting look at the history of the town and some of it's characters. Port Nolloth was founded in 1854 primarily to serve the copper mines to the east
Rocky beachscape at Port Nolloth
The town of Springbok viewed from the old cemetery. Originally called Springbokfontein, until 1911. The town owes it's existance to the ore-rich surrounding granite domes of the Klein Koperberge (Small Copper Mountains)
Springbok experiences low levels of air humidity, limited soil moisture and severe sunshine throughout the year. Despite this, Springbok is especially fascinating since nearly half of the plant species here are found nowhere else in the world
Springbok lies at an elevation of 1,007 metres (3,304 feet) in a narrow valley between the high granite domes of the Klein Koperberge (Small Copper Mountains). The town has a small population of around 13000
South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) is the national centre for optical and infrared astronomy in South Africa. It was established in 1972. The observatory is run by the National Research Foundation of South Africa
Sutherland observatory at night, when the magic happens
Sutherland was founded in 1723 as a church and market town to serve the area's farmers. By 1872 the town had a population of 138 citizens living in 19 houses. The Dutch Reformed church in the centre of Sutherland was built in 1899
The Three Sisters hills in the Karoo. Situated near where the N12 and H1 highways meet. This is the crossing point from the Northern Cape into the Western Cape
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Despite the dry location, Upington is blessed with an abundance of water courtesy of the Orange River - the longest river in South Africa
Vineyards on Orange River Wine Route. Upington's most famous wines are produced by an organisation generally known as Orange River Cellars (ORC) and are exported globally
Upington sunset on the banks of the Orange River. Upington has been noted as being the sunniest location on the planet for three months of the year, from November through January
Vioolsdrift is a popular crossing point into Namibia. It's location alongside the Orange River means there are small pockets of fertile alluvial soil and these are used for growing crops, such as dates and melons, under irrigation
The Orange River provides the perfect vehicle for exploring the region. Many tour operators have set up their base camps for rafting tours on the Orange River
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