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Are you one of those adventurers who enjoy tackling the road less travelled? The wide open landscapes of the Northern Cape are perfect for off-road and 4x4 adventurers wanting to test their driving skills across its mountainous terrain, deep ditches and dramatic dunes. This guided trail stretches for more than 214km over the red dunes of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park and is a must for those who enjoy roughing it. The trail runs for over three nights and is a fantastic adventure, with numerous stops en route to photograph the scenery in the heart of no-man’s land. The vast terrain of the Northern Cape – from mountains and dunes to never-ending flats – is often compared to a moonscape. While you may not experience zero gravity here, you will have some serious fun going on off-road adventures and exciting 4x4 trails.
Mattanu Private Game Reserve specialises in tailor-made packages according to the guests’ specific needs. Their four-star accommodation includes a deck and braai facility, and they have luxury tents with air-conditioning for the hot summer nights and underfloor heating for the chilly winter evenings. Nestled between camel thorn trees and wildlife, you can get away from it all and relax in this luxurious lodge. The lodge overlooks a very popular watering hole where wildlife sightings are very common. Game drives will be conducted in comfortable game-viewing vehicles. Helicopter game viewing can also be arranged, along with filming and photographic safaris, hands-on game capturing experiences, and green and trophy hunting safaris. Located about 50km north-west of Kimberley, Mattanu Private Reserve offers the ultimate Kalahari game experience – there are roan, sable, buffalo, golden oryx, golden gnu and many other types of antelope and wild animals. One can view the animals on a quad bike, safari vehicle or even by helicopter.
The Northern Cape is an excellent sandboarding destination and a number of local operators offer sandboarding lessons and tours. The dunes near Kakamas and Witsand are very popular and expert boarders and novices are more than welcome – boards can be rented on arrival. Adventure-tour companies specialising in dune boarding in South Africa advise you to bring: a camera to record the inevitable antics; lots of sunscreen; and a sense of humour. Some of the more enterprising companies turn it into a fun day, complete with children's dune boarding and picnics. This is a fun sport that will satisfy most peoples' need for speed.
A great way to enjoy the sights and sounds of the Orange River is to take a sundowner boat cruise. There are many boating options available in the Northern Cape, but one that stands out is Sakkie se Arkie, a large river boat that operates out of Upington. Snacks and drinks are served on board, and all the delegates need to do is enjoy the journey. The Orange River is majestic and mostly serene and what better way to explore it than to sit back and relax on Sakkies se Arkie for a breathtaking sunset river cruise! Enjoy one-and-a-half hours of fantastic birding, total relaxation, good company and music, and soak up the Kalahari sun whilst drifting along the magnificent Orange River. Snacks and alcoholic beverages will be available during the cruise to people above the age of 18 years at the on-board, fully licensed bar. Situated on the banks of the Orange River in town, makes this the ideal spot to escape the hustle and bustle of town and to enjoy the relaxing and thrilling potential of the Orange River.
The town of Sutherland in South Africa's Northern Cape was established in 1855 when life centred on pioneer farmers and the Dutch Reformed Church. The region continues to be a strong livestock-farming area – and an astronomer's delight. Visit here to experience the wonder of the stars, tuck into a classic Karoo dinner featuring slow-roasted lamb shanks or feel what it's like to be in one of the coldest places in South Africa on a crisp winter's day. Like the earliest people, we are still awed by the mystery of the stars, planets and distant galaxies. Today, the extraordinary clarity of Sutherland’s cloudless, pollution-free night skies and its high elevation above sea level makes it a prime stargazing destination and the perfect site for the South African Astronomical Observatory. Known for its chilly temperatures during the winter months, Sutherland is known as a top stargazing destination. Home to the South African Astronomical Observatory and the Southern African Large Telescope, its clear night skies have earned the town the name, “the Gateway to the Universe”.
For unique insights into the way of life of the Kalahari Bushmen or San people, book a space on a guided trail with a Bushman tracker in the Kalahari. Get to know all about how they survived for centuries in this arid landscape – learn about medicinal plants, their incredible hunter-gatherer skills and their folk tales and traditions. When you go tracking with the Kalahari Bushmen, you’ll find that they are deeply rooted in their ancient oral culture and in their symbiotic relationship with the animals, birds and plants of the Kalahari Desert. Stop, touch, taste, learn and listen – it’s an unforgettable experience. Although the traditional Kalahari Bushmen or San way of life is fast disappearing, there are still places where their ancient culture flourishes, so this really is a once-in-a-lifetime-experience.
Kimberley's ghost tours are renowned for the number and variety of their resident spirits. Many apparitions haunt some of the old mining town’s most historic houses and monuments; while on an Anglo-Boer battlefield just outside the town, a lonely phantom Scottish piper plays on moonlit nights. Your tour begins at the Honoured Dead Memorial in the centre of the city before heading off to visit historic houses and monuments, including Rudd House, the African Library, the William McGregor Museum, and the old De Beers boardroom. If you don’t have any sightings of apparitions, you are still bound to have lots of fun.
As an emerging food and wine destination, this route takes the traveller through the small towns of Keimoes, Kenhardt, Hakoneiland, Augrabies, Upington and Marchland, with numerous wine and brandy tastings along the way. Enjoy Karoo lamb as you have never had it before, washed down by the finest brandy from the region. In amongst the little towns on this route there are a series of wine cellars, including the second largest wine co-operative in the world, dried fruit industries, nuts, homemade cheeses, meat delicacies and a list of outdoor activities that include 4x4 trips, hiking, bird watching and even donkey-cart riding. Other highlights include the Augrabies Falls, and community hot springs at Riemvasmaak and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, the Klipspringer and Gorge Walking trail at Augrabies Falls National Park, mountain biking trails, and historical sites and museums. This route has so much to offer a group of delegates looking for small-town charm and uniqueness.
For water-sport enthusiasts, activities along the Orange River are a major highlight. This incredible body of water stretches 2200km from the Drakensberg (in Lesotho) to Alexander Bay (Atlantic Ocean). Fly fishing, canoeing and white-water rafting are all popular along the Orange River, with well-appointed tour operators who take care of all of the details. Several respected South African river adventure companies offer rafting down the Orange River, starting from their respective base camps along the river's course. The trips are well organised and the catering is superb. Each night you stop off at an inspiring natural location in this rugged semi-desert landscape where a meal is cooked for you by your guides. Roast lamb on an open fire in the Richtersveld National Park never tasted so good. Nights are spent under the stars in a sleeping bag or tent. Out here you are on the edge of the world, with no artificial light in sight. Early the next morning you’re awakened by the call of the African fish eagle hunting for its breakfast on the river, and by the smell of fresh coffee brewing on the fire. If you need any further temptation, simply imagine yourself rafting down one of the world’s greatest rivers under the African sky.
The diamond town of Kimberley is home to the Kimberley Mine Museum, one of the Northern Cape’s most popular tourist attractions and a tribute to the diamond-digging days of old. The museum includes viewing decks overlooking the famous Big Hole, as well as a number of heritage buildings. Many of the buildings here are originals that have been moved over the years to this spot. Why not immerse yourself in the world of diamond mining and take the guided tour of a once-operational diamond mine, which descends a staggering 840m below the earth? Art lovers are also in for a treat. The Wildebeest Kuil Rock Art Centre showcases San art, both ancient rock art and contemporary creations. Not far away is the William Humphreys Art Gallery, specialising in South African artists but also offering a fine collection of 16th and 17th century Flemish, Dutch, English and French masters.
Limpopo is a unique golfing destination. Here you’ll find the Legend Golf & Safari Resort with its extreme 19th hole, the Zebula Country Club, and the Hans Merensky Country Club and Lodge where you’ll share the greens with giraffes and other fascinating wildlife. The Zebula Country Club is a premier destination in South Africa for golfing enthusiasts and is located on 1600 hectares of pristine bushveld with the Waterberg Mountains as a backdrop. Other world-class golf estates in the province include Koro Creek Golf Estate, Euphoria Golf Estate and Elements Private Golf Estate. The Euphoria Golf Estate has private game reserves and lodges while offering players a chance to enjoy its incredible golf course. Regardless of which golf estate delegates decide to visit, it’s without a doubt they’ll score with either one.
A renowned national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Richtersveld is also home to the Nama people – herders who have lived off the land for many years. The Richtersveld is a great place to go on 4x4 adventures, bird-watching getaways and canoe adventures. The Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape is a remarkable mountainous desert region in the north-west Cape. There’s a special kind of richness to the light in this part of the world, freshness in the air. The Northern Cape skies are clear and it is an area of extraordinary biodiversity, ranging from small succulents to giant aloes, from African wild cats to antelope and many rare bird species endemic to the region. It is also one of the areas in Southern Africa that is still home to a group of nomadic herders.