The Northern Cape: it’s more than a Big Hole

Posted by Samantha Corbett on 19 March 2012

It’s not long until Easter now, and this year why not try exploring somewhere new? The Northern Cape is at the top of the list – it’s a lesser-known hot spot, with many wonderful activities suitable for the whole family. Discover exquisite nature reserves, spend the special day surrounded by wildlife and amazing scenery, go on a hike or embark on an epic adventure on one of the gorgeous mountain bike trails, follow the flowers, dance in the dust, or gaze at starry night skies.

As South Africa’s largest province, the vast and open spaces of the Northern Cape lends itself perfectly to the exploration of the outdoors.  With mild temperatures during March and April, it’s is the perfect destination for family fun during the Easter holidays.

For nature lovers, the Northern Cape is a treasure chest of outdoor experiences and boasts a total of six national parks, including two transfrontier parks crossing into world-famous safari destinations such as Namibia and Botswana as well as six provincial nature reserves, two of the largest rivers in South Africa and three legendary deserts.

Explore the stunning Witsand Nature Reserve which plays host to a wide array of creatures, both great and small and is known for its scenic, unique landscape.

The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is renowned for its wild, untamed beauty, phenomenal wildlife, and photographic opportunities. Take some time to discover all its wonders on a 10 day photographic safari, during which you will learn to capture the beauty all around you, and immerse yourself in nature.  Discover the astonishing landscape of the tranquil Tankwa Karoo Park, and get in touch with your wild side at the Namaqua National Park. The abundance of birds and wildlife makes the Northern Cape a mecca for game viewing and bird spotting.

Explore the remote Richtersveld and get trigger happy. Follow the flowers in Spring and discover the beautiful region of Namaqualand, which has many things to do on a cloudy day! There are many wonderful accommodation options in the area, including family- oriented, budget friendly spots.

Outdoor enthusiasts are spoilt for choice with loads of hiking and mountain biking trails for families.  Well-marked and easily navigated walking trails are available from the majestic towering falls of the Augrabies Falls to the rock art sites of Wildebeest Kuil. For one of the best viewpoints in South Africa, climb to Ararat look out point.

Many towns offer guided walking tours to discover the rich cultural diversity of the Northern Cape. Take a road trip and discover everything the area has to offer, you may even encounter a few surprises! Dance in the dust, with the Riel dancing competition in Carnavon in the Karoo, and breathe in the relaxed atmosphere of the tiny town of Niewoudtville – you could find your own country cottage.

Other adventure activities for families include water sports such as paddling the Orange River or enjoying the Vanderkloof Dam. Take part in one of the Orange River’s epic canoe marathons, such as the Green Kalahari Canoe Marathon or John Dory’s Orange River Canoe marathon, or try Dune surfing, which has become another popular outdoor activity providing the exhilaration of sliding down one of the province’s iconic red Kalahari sand dunes.  The Kimberley Skate Plaza is also a must-do on the itinerary as this state-of-the-art skate park offers a fabulous combination of street and vert skating and is reckoned amongst the best in the world. Have a delicious braai and visit the famous Big Hole in Kimberley.

The Northern Cape also offers great value-for-money accommodation options with  camping sites, self-catering accommodation facilities and tented camps.  Imagine waking up near a watering hole watching herds of antelope cavorting or checking in at popular holiday destinations in or near nature reserves and wildlife parks. Why not try staying on a farm in the Karoo?

The Northern Cape is within easy access of most major towns and cities in South Africa via the centrally located airports in Upington and Kimberley and major highways.

Dare to experience the Northern Cape adventure!  Visit for other travel packages.


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