Each region also features a route experience that will capture the imagination of those who dare to explore it. The incredible year-round experiences coupled with the warm hospitality, the peace and tranquillity offered by off-the-beaten track towns and villages, and space as far as the eye can see allow you to re-discover life changing encounters and ensure unforgettable summer holiday memories.Whether you are stopping or passing through, we wish you safe travels and many happy returns to this truly unique destination.
Explore the routes of the Northern Cape
The eight Northern Cape routes are specifically packaged to give visitors an easy, do-it-yourself option to explore the province. Incredible year-round experiences coupled with warm hospitality, the peace and tranquillity offered by off-the-beaten track towns and villages as well as uninterrupted spaces, allow visitors to recharge and reconnect with loved ones.
Named after the indigenous quiver tree, the Quiver Tree Route stretches along the Gariep River and includes towns like Upington, Kakamas, Keimoes, Augrabies, Marchand, Kanoneiland, Kenhardt and Riemvasmaak. The route will appeal to families as well as adventure and adrenaline seekers.
Highlights include Augrabies Falls, Riemvasmaak hot springs, the Orange River, numerous 4×4 routes, hiking and mountain bike trails, as well as excellent bird watching. Foodies will appreciate the typical Northern Cape fare and produce, as well as wine tasting at cellars along the route.
Kalahari Red Dune Route
Discover the essence of the province in the heart of the Kalahari. Golden dunes, wide-open skies and flat-topped acacia trees epitomise the Kalahari Red Dune Route. Stretching from Upington to the Namibian border, visitors traverse the villages of Askham, Groot and Klein Mier and Rietfontein. Adventure-loving families can enjoy dune hikes at dawn, eagle-owl encounters, sand duning and surfing in the red sand, and close encounters with meerkats.
Be sure to visit the newest world heritage site, ‡Khomani Cultural Landscape Heritage Site, for guided walks with the ‡Khomani San (Bushmen) to rediscover the wisdom, customs and folklore of this ancient tribe.
Go Ghaap Route
The Northern Cape has a fascinating new heritage route, covering everything from famous archaeological sites, historic towns, amazing architecture and an excellent selection of nature and game reserves. Visitors will be drawn to fascinating historical and geological sites in and around towns such as Postmasburg, Griquatown, Campbell, Olifantshoek, Dibeng (Deben), Kathu, Daniëlskuil and Kuruman.
Visitors can look forward to marvelling at the hidden heritage gems that include an early geological history (from 3 billion years ago) which created vast mineral wealth like iron, manganese, diamonds and limestone.
Explore the Wonderwerk Caves between Kuruman and Danielskuil and the Khoisan history in Wildebeest Kuil near Barkly West. For the early war enthusiasts, there are a wealth of things to explore – the 1914 Rebellion, including the Truce Tree in Seodin Street, Kuruman; the Anglo-Tswana wars in the Langberg near Olifantshoek; and the 1870s and 1890s Anglo-Boer War at the Blockhouse in Danielskuil and Kimberley. Kuruman Eye in Kuruman is a natural spring delivering about 20-million litres of clean, clear water daily to Kuruman.
Enjoy real Kalahari hospitality at DoringDraad Deben Kontrei, just 25km outside Kathu on the R380 route to the small town of Dibeng/Deben. Donkey cart rides, great food and unhurried wining and dining are still a reality here. There is also the historical Moffat Mission station in Kuruman for history buffs. In Griquatown, visit the grave of early-1800s Griqua leader, Andries Waterboer, that features two cannons that were gifts from Queen Victoria guarding his final resting place. And last, but not least, visit the Mary Moffat Museum in Griquatown and the Witsand Nature Reserve between Postmasburg and Kuruman and witness the famed roaring sands of the Kalahari.
The Richtersveld is South Africa’s only mountain desert and the route travels along rugged gravel roads to quaint towns such as Eksteensfontein, Sendelingsdrift, Lekkersing, Kuboes and Sandrift.
The Orange River offers visitors a more leisurely pace, with river rafting and the best wilderness fly-fishing in South Africa, while the entire Richtersveld is a mountain biker’s dream. Follow in the footsteps of a traditional goat herder at the Richtersveld World Heritage Site and learn about the lives of the Nama nomads.
In the villages, the locals will entertain guests with storytelling and traditional Nama step dancing upon request. Springtime is also an excellent time to visit and view the desert transformed into a kaleidoscope of colour.
Namaqua Coastal Route
This route includes hidden gems like Garies, Kamieskroon, Hondeklip Bay, Koiingnaas and Kleinzee. Dozens of adventure and leisure options are available: Namaqua National Park, nature reserves, hidden coastal hamlets, and some of the most remote hiking and 4×4 trails imaginable.
Go succulent sleuthing with a botanical guide or explore the countless shipwrecks along the coastline on a five-day slow packing guided trip. Breathtaking scenes of the Atlantic Ocean with sightings of dolphins and whales, combined with great vistas of mountains and veld with endemic wildlife, and off course the floral splendour during August and September, makes travelling in this area unforgettable.
Karoo Highlands Route
This route travels through the small Karoo towns of Calvinia, Williston, Sutherland, Fraserburg, Carnarvon, Loxton and Victoria West – the heart of the Great Karoo. Enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the Karoo with its wide-open plains. The area was named by the Khoi and San people, who left their legacy as art on the rocks. Karoo architecture and corbelled houses, Anglo-Boer War sites, rock art, ancient Palaeo surfaces, farm stays and great Karoo cuisine and hospitality are all at the heart of this magical experience.
The vast expanse of the star-studded Northern Cape Karoo skies offers unarguably the best stargazing in the world. Explore the many unique Astro tourism experiences, such as stargazing at the world’s largest astronomical observatory at Sutherland or visit the SKA radio telescopes in Carnarvon. Night and day tours are available at SALT in Sutherland.
Karoo Oasis Route
The route traverses through the towns of Warrenton, Kimberley, Hopetown, Britstown and Victoria West along the N12, and is the perfect stopover for travellers between Johannesburg and Cape Town. Guests can stop at various towns for an exciting number of leisure activities and accommodation facilities. There is a variety of food stalls that travellers can enjoy and stock up on, with delectable produce such as home-made rusks, ginger beer to quench your thirst and a taste of local food.
Cape to Namibia Route
The route meanders up from the N7 and include small towns, each with its own local flavour and a story to tell. The N7 highway stretches from Cape Town all the way through the Northern Cape, before heading into neighbouring country Namibia.
Crossing from the Western Cape into the Northern Cape, visitors will encounter towns which capture the Nama heritage of the province. Slow down and appreciate the unique stories of the people of Garies, Kamieskroon, Springbok, Okiep, Steinkopf and Vioolsdrift. During springtime, this route takes visitors into the core of the floral kaleidoscope that is the Namakwa floral season.