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TThe Northern Cape is definitely South Africa’s all-in-one province. It doesn’t matter what adventure you’re after, in this beautifully sparse and diverse slice of Mzansi you’ll find everything from coastal getaways and bush adventures to small-town escapes with a lot of history and culture in between.
If you’re ever thinking of making your way to the land of big skies and small towns, here are a few adventures you won’t want to pass up.
At the Augrabies Falls National Park in the Northern Cape, the waterfall is only the beginning. Exploring the region reveals many other attractions nearby, including a wide variety of flowers, animals and the unique Moon Rock.
If you’re looking for adventure then look no further than Augrabies. Want to take to the skies in a hot air balloon? No problem. How about a bit of river rafting or canoeing down the Orange River? They’ve got you covered. At Augrabies Falls National Park, adventure is the name of the game with plenty of adrenaline rushing and soul soothing activities to make any getaway one to remember.
If you’re a history buff, then you’ll know that South Africa has its past rooted in the ground and this historic city, the capital of the Northern Cape, is lovingly known as the Diamond City.
Start your exploration of the city at its main attraction: the Big Hole. Imagine a hand-dug hole the size of eight football fields and you have some idea of the labour that went into creating the Big Hole. Right next to the Big Hole is the Kimberley Mine Museum, which brings to life the way the city was during the bustling days of the diamond rush.
Once you’ve immersed yourself in the history, the surrounding area is brimming with adventures to embark on. Try catching some yellow fish with some decent fly fishing in the dams and rivers, or getting tickled pink with thousands of flamingos at Kamfers Dam, or how about exploring the open Kalahari plains at the Mokala National Park.
If you’re looking to tackle the tough terrain of the Northern Cape with four wheels instead of two legs, there are many 4x4 trails just waiting to test your resolve. From rocky, mountainous terrain to the free-flowing sands of the Kalahari Desert, there is enough adventure to wear out even the toughest of vehicles.
The benefit of the vast, open scenery of the Northern Cape is that you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to 4x4ing. Here’s a list of all the 4x4 trails scattered across the province.
Kalagadi Transfrontier Park
If your adventure lies on the wilder side of the spectrum, the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is a magical place where dry landscapes and red dunes provide the backdrop to a singularly unique experience. The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is a fusion of the former Kalahari Gemsbok National Park of South Africa, which was set up to protect migratory game such as gemsbok, and the neighbouring Gemsbok National Park in Botswana.
The South African side has a variety of self-catering and camping facilities. There's also a luxury lodge between Mata Mata and Twee Rivieren. Ask about the wilderness camps if you'd like an unfenced, more private experience. The Botswana side specialises more in rustic wilderness camping.
Find out more about the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park with South African National Parks.
SStargazing at Sutherland
When the sun goes down and you’ve kept your eyes on the ground the whole day, it’s time to look up, beyond South Africa, beyond this planet… it’s time to take your front seat to the universe.
Sutherland is home to a world-renowned astronomical centre. Besides the ever-so-charming and sparse Upper Karoo, here you’ll find The Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) situated on a mountain top, 14 km out of town. This is the place to stargaze, being one of the best star-viewing destinations in the southern hemisphere.
If your kind of adventure is one among the stars, learn more about Sutherland and see what adventures this charming little Karoo town has to offer.
Namaqua National Park
From horizon-to-horizon, orange daisies take over the Namaqua National Park in spring. It’s a sight so beautiful and unique that it’ll take your breath away. The timing of the flowers and how many will bloom changes every year, but its guaranteed that sometime between August and the beginning of October the dusty land will spring to life and, for a few vibrant weeks, this low-rainfall desert is completely transformed.
To experience the heart of the succulent Karoo, you can take the Caracal 4x4 Eco Route, which is over 180 km long and will take you deep into the park's newest lands.
Find out more about Namaqua National Park with South African National Parks.
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