The vast Northern Cape is the largest South African province with roughly one third of the country’s land area. It’s bigger than Germany, bordering Namibia and Botswana to the north and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. While it may be the largest province, it’s also the least populated with just over 1 million inhabitants. Kimberley, the capital, is found on the province’s far eastern edge.
Northern Cape’s history dates to the Stone Age. This is evident by tools and carvings found in caves throughout the province. It has since been populated by a variety of tribes although it did not officially become the Northern Cape until 1994 when the Cape Province was split into Northern Cape, Western Cape and Eastern Cape. While South Africa may have a troubled past, the nation has made huge leaps and bounds with the help of the former president, Nelson Mandela. The country’s struggle with apartheid has brought everyone in the nation closer together, as a rule, though tensions can still run high. These tensions can occasionally be seen in Northern Cape. The province periodically deals with ethnic issues within the political sphere.
Today much of Northern Cape’s industry is made up of diamond mining. However, there is a growing number of vineyards who use the arid climate to produce world-class wine. Northern Cape is also known for its numerous archaeological sites. Some are already included in the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites like Richtersveld and some are on South Africa’s tentative list of World Heritage Sites like Wonderwerk Cave. Northern Cape’s landscape is as varied as it is beautiful. There are amazingly beautiful national parks, miles and miles of stunning coastal area and wide open areas blessed with natural beauty.
Northern Cape has something to inspire every adventure lover. Adrenaline junkies will love the rock climbing, white water rafting, motor-biking, 4x4 trails and paragliding. The province also sports four wildlife parks and two transfrontier parks for exciting wildlife encounters. Hiking around Karoo and Green Kalahari will delight nature lovers and Kimberley offers a glimpse into the past with abandoned diamond mines and several interesting museums. Finally, Northern Cape is home to some of the world’s best vineyards. Don’t leave without trying a glass of South African wine.
Upington Airport and Kimberley Airport welcome domestic flights from major South African cities. It is also possible to reach the Northern Cape Province by bus from Cape Town. If you have your own transportation, the N1, N7, N8, N10, N12 and the N14 highways connect this province with other parts of South Africa.