Did you know?
Covering over 100 000 hectares, the luxurious Tswalu Private Game Reserve in the Kalahari is South Africa's largest private game reserve.
A honeymoon in the Northern Cape should be considered by those who love wide open spaces and the sense of freedom they offer. In this vast province of unexpected geographic and natural features, the night skies are more densely populated with stars than the land is with people.
The Northern Cape honeymoon menu includes the Karoo. Don’t let its reputation for miles of emptiness fool you – breaking into that terrain of semi-desert, fat-tailed sheep and windmills are charming towns and villages with missionary pasts, corbelled homes and churches. You could also opt for a farm stay, where you could share in the Karoo lifestyle of farming families and sample succulent Karoo lamb.
You could also choose to spend time in two fascinating transfrontier parks in the Northern Cape bordering Namibia. The |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park spans a land of ancient lava peaks and sandy plains, cradled by the Orange River. Here, you'll meet the Nama people who have lived in this area for centuries, you'll see the strange-looking halfmens ('half-person) succulent which dots the landscape and you'll marvel at the rock formations.
Best explored in a 4x4 or paddle boat on the Orange River, the park also offers access to Namibian tourist highlights such as the Fish River Canyon.
The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, traversing South Africa's border with both Namibia and Botswana, is a vast area of sand dunes, dry river beds, thorn trees, antelope and birds. Accommodation is available in fenced rest camps as well as more intimate, unfenced facilities which allow closer contact with nature.
The Orange River is the main attraction of yet another conservation area, the Augrabies Falls National Park, where the impressive Augrabies Falls plunge into a granite-encased pool with a thunderous roar. Eco-adventure is the ‘thing’ here, with hiking trails, canoeing and mountain biking just some of the options.
The remote Witsand Nature Reserve between Kimberley and Upington has its own roar, heard as the wind blows through its magnificent white dunes, which reach heights of 60m. Dune boarding is a popular activity here.
Couples honeymooning in the spring (August and September) would do well to catch the annual outbreak of wild flowers in Namaqualand. And if a touch of the old diamond-digging frontier days sounds enticing, Kimberley with its Big Hole, historical walks, museums, Old Town and ghost trail, is well worth a stop.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
How to get here
You can drive to the Northern Cape from the major centres of Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban, but it’s very far and a trip best recommended for seasoned overland travellers. The easiest option is to fly to Kimberley or Upington (direct flights are available from Cape Town and Johannesburg).
Best time to visit
Visit between August and September (in spring) to see the spectacular wild flower display in Namaqualand. Autumn (April and May) and spring are probably the best seasons, as the temperatures are more moderate. Winter days are warm but nights are very cold, while the summers can be excruciatingly hot.
Around the area
Try your hand at one of the many 4x4 trails in the province; do the Anglo-Boer War Battlefields Route; or visit a number of historical sites and stately Victorian homes on the 2km long Belgravia Historic Walk in Kimberley. A visit to the South African Astronomical Observatory at Sutherland with its fascinating day and night tours is also a must. The spaces in this province are vast, so you will have to choose your route and experiences carefully.
Tours to do
A tour of the historic town of Kimberley is a good idea. A trip to spend time with the community in remote Riemvasmaak is also an option.
A number of car rental companies are represented at the Kimberley Airport. Hire a car there to explore this vast region in your own time.
Where to stay
There are a number of guest houses, B&Bs and lodges in the main towns of Kimberley, Upington and Springbok. The Augrabies Falls National Park offers accommodation through its selection of campsites, chalets and family cottages, while the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park boasts traditional rest camps, wilderness camps, tented camps and a luxury lodge.