5 unusual things to do in the Northern Cape

Posted on 10 October 2022 By Anita Froneman

When you think of the Northern Cape, The Big Hole in Kimberley comes to mind, or maybe the Augrabies Waterfalls. Tourists the world over go to see the big attractions. But did you know that the small desert province has so much more to offer?

Steeped in history and rich in culture, some of the quaint little towns will charm your socks off. If that’s not enough, nature will enchant you with ancient trees and unique indigenous fynbos.

When planning your next getaway, keep these interesting and unusual activities in mind.

Quiver Tree Forest, Nieuwoudtville

On the border of the Gannabos Protected Area (a wildflower reserve), this forest offers uninterrupted desert landscape scattered with quiver trees. These trees reach heights of three and nine metres, and interestingly only bloom once they are between 20 and 30 years old. Part of the aloe family, these trees are endemic to the Nama Karoo in the south of Namibia. Head out for a drive with a picnic basket and camera! Viewing times are 6am to 4pm daily. For night visits, you have to take out a permit at Gannabos. Call the owner, Nakkie van Wyk, at 027 218 1249  for more information.

Nama huts, Steinkopf

In the heart of the Richtersveld, just outside of Steinkopf, you will find traditional Nama huts still being built. These rounded structures, called !haru oms in the local language (and referred to widely in Afrikaans as matjieshuisies), have a lightweight reed-framework. The women hand weave river reeds into roughly 40 mats per hut, which are carefully placed around the frame. You will find the area driving about 49km north of Springbok.

Goegap Nature Reserve

The Northern Cape is home to fynbos found on no other continent. Between August and September, the area is alive with colourful flowers and wild game like Gemsbok. The Hester Malan Wild Flower Garden within the reserve is home to hundreds of species of Namakwa succulents and features a rock garden.

The reserve is open from 08:00 to 16:30 all year round.  Daily entrance fees are R30 per person and camping fees R90 per person per day.

Bezalel Wine and Brandy Estate, Orang River Valley


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Brandy, wine and beer tastings #bezalel #brandy #northerncape #northerncapewines #noordkaap #brannewyn #wynproe #upington #kanoneiland

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After a long, hot day of driving around, unwind with a wine and brandy tasting in this mid-desert oasis. The estate offers a boutique wine cellar, artisan brandy distillery, accommodation, garden café and garden for the kids. Situated along the N14 just roughly 30 km south of Upington, it’s a must. Visit their website for more information.

Corbelled Houses, Carnarvon


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wakker worden in het Corbelled House in Stuurmansfontein…

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These dinky houses that were built by the trekboere (roaming farmers or pioneers) that migrated from the south into the Karoo in the early 1800s are like nothing you’ve ever seen. An ancient architectural technique called corbelling was used, layering successive layers of flat stone upon each other creating excellent protection from the Karoo heat. Some of these houses in the Fraserburg, Williston and Carnarvon areas have been converted into guest houses, or you can just drive around and take a look. Alternatively, visit the Carnarvon Museum.

Picture: Instagram

ALSO READ: 5 essentials to pack for a 4×4 trip in Kruger

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