What’s a trip to South Africa’s Northern Cape really like? Our Travel Specialist, Shelley, is here to share her expert knowledge with in blog which details her highlights and top tips so you can make the most of your trip.


The Northern Cape province in South Africa takes up nearly a third of the country’s land area but has the smallest population. The result is truly magnificent scenery with wide open spaces and one of the few places in the world to have a ‘Dark Sky’ status, meaning the night skies are amazing! 

A short, scheduled flight from Johannesburg, will see you arrive in Upington Airport. With the well maintained and easy road structure, we recommend you hire a car and self-drive the region to offer you a bit of flexibility and a more relaxed holiday.

A visit to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park is a must on any itinerary. Although the park does not offer the ‘Big 5’ it doesn’t mean it’s short of wildlife! Famed for the black maned lion it is also home to leopard, cheetah and other wildlife not spotted on the more traditional safari holiday such as the meerkat, the bat eared fox, caracal, honey badger, oryx, ostrich and hyena. The birding is also excellent.

The region is good to visit throughout the year with particularly good predator sightings from January to March, although it should be noted that daytime temperatures over this time can reach over 40°C. Activities, depending on what property and area you visit include: a bushman or cultural experience, bushwalks, game drives, astrology, a visit to the salt pan and a tour of the sand dunes.

Visiting the Northern Cape would not be complete without stopping off at the famous Augrabies Falls, located in the Augrabies Falls National Park. However, other than the Falls, we recommend spending a bit of time viewing the wildlife in the park before heading onto one of the renowned vineyards nearby for some wine-tasting at one of the local wineries.

The Orange River and surrounding area is a highlight, providing many of the adventure activities that make this region an ‘adventure playground’. River rafting, kayaking, tubing, river cruising, fishing, shooting, birding, mountain biking, horse riding, swimming, game drives and bushwalks are all great activities and fun for families and solo travellers alike.

Accommodation in the province ranges from basic, comfortable guesthouses and family run working farms to luxury tented camps and lodges. Due to the limited choice in this more remote province, most itineraries include a mix of accommodation, which adds to the adventure experience. It should be noted, especially for families, that WIFI and phone signals are hard to come by! 

A fantastic example of the accommodation available is Xaus Lodge, which boasts incredible views over the vast desert landscape.

Moving away from the regular tourist routes, the Northern Cape, with its rustic charm, offers a completely different experience to the rest of South Africa, with the outdoors and adventure being its major draw card.

Feeling inspired? Browse our South Africa Northern Cape holidays.


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