Northern Cape highlights
Did you know?
There are an estimated 3 500 species of plants in
The evocative Northern Cape's Kalahari Desert evokes a picture of never ending red sand dunes, big, blue skies and undulating heat waves that descend unrelentingly on dry river beds.
Despite this immaculate wilderness, the Kalahari is not true desert, in the sense of being unable to support life. Parts of the Kalahari receive as much as 250 millimetres of rainfall, albeit erratically, throughout the year, and grasses and acacias easily support large species of antelope, hyenas, the famous black-maned lions of the desert, giraffe, warthogs, jackals and possibly the most endearing and iconic creature of the southern African deserts, the cheeky meerkat.
Namaqualand’s desert flowers
The Namaqualand is famous for its stunning display of wild flowers at the beginning of the spring season. It is after the first rains that the arid desert suddenly bursts into an endless carpet of flowers, becoming a veritable ocean of colour and scent. Approximately 4 000 species of plants can be found amongst the desert flowers including the mysterious Namaqua Halfmens, and the region is known for photographic safaris.
Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape
The Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape is a remarkable mountainous desert region in the north-west of the country that is uniquely owned and managed by the Nama communities.
The Richtersveld’s incredible culture and history that dates back at least 2000 years, offers interesting insights into how people have existed in this harsh landscape and as a result the area has been proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The |Ais-|Ais/Richtersveld National Park includes some of the world’s richest flora and fauna and is well-known for its 4 x 4 trails.
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
The very first transfrontier park to be proclaimed in Africa, the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park combines the attractions of the Gemsbok National Park in Botswana and the Kalahari Gemsbok Park in South Africa – it’s an untouched wilderness that covers a staggering 3,6 million hectares. Here you will find the famous black-maned lions,
the enchanting pygmy falcons and the abundant antelope that follow century-old migration patterns through the park.
SA Astronomical Observatory
You can’t visit the Northern Cape without going on a stargazing safari. The South African Astronomical Observatory in Sutherland is home to the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) - the largest single optical telescope in the southern hemisphere. Here the clear night skies offer you the perfect opportunity to view the stars and learn more about this place known as ‘The Gateway to the Universe’.
Northern Cape highlights at a glance:
• Namaqualand in springtime
• The Augrabies Falls National Park
• San culture
• The Big Hole of Kimberley
• The |Ais-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park
• Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
• Sutherland – home to stargazing in SA
• Pella Mission Station
• Karoo Highlands
• Adventure sports
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Northern Cape Tourism Authority
Tel: +27(0)53 832-2657/2643