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Visit the Northern Cape

The Big Hole
The Big Hole Credits: Holiday-Homes-SA.com

The Northern Cape is a large, sparsely populated province that includes the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park which comprises the Kalahari Gemsbok Park in South Africa and the Gemsbok National Park in Botswana.

It also includes the diamond mining regions around Kimberley in the interior and Alexander Bay on the west coast of South Africa. The Namaqualand region (in the west) is famous for its magnificent flowers in late winter and early spring.

The Orange River flows through the province, forming the borders with the Free State (in the south east) and with Namibia (to the northwest). It is also used to irrigate the many vineyards near from Groblershoop to Keimos which is very important to agriculture in this mostly arid province.

The Augrabies falls on the Orange River 120km west of Upington is a spectacular sight, even when the water levels in the river are low.

Kuruman, in the north-east of the province, was first famous as a mission station and also for its 'eye', which is a natural spring producing some 20 million litres of water a day.

The pre-colonial history of the Northern Cape is reflected in a rich, mainly Stone Age, archaeological heritage. Cave sites include Wonderwerk Cave near Kuruman, which has a uniquely long sequence stretching from the turn of the twentieth century at the surface to more than 1 million (and possibly nearly 2 million) years in its basal layer (where stone tools, occurring in very low density, may be Oldowan.

The Northern Cape is South Africa's largest province, and distances between towns are enormous due to its sparse population. Its size is just less than the size of the American state of Montana and slightly larger than that of Germany.

The province is dominated by the Karoo Basin and consists mostly of sedimentary rocks and some Dolerite intrusions.
The south and south-east of the province is high-lying (1200m-1900m) in the Roggeveld and Nuweveld districts.
The west coast is dominated by the Namaqualand region, famous for its spring flowers. This area is hilly to mountainous.
The central areas are generally flat with interspersed salt pans. Kimberlite intrusions punctuate the Karoo rocks, giving the province its most precious natural resource, Diamonds.
The north is primarily Kalahari Desert, characterised by red sand dunes and acacia tree dotted dry savannah.

Northern Cape has a shoreline in the west on the South Atlantic Ocean. The province has international borders with Namibia and Botswana:

Most famous for the diamond mines around Kimberley, the Northern Cape also has a substantial agricultural area on the banks of the Orange River, including most of South Africa's sultana vineyards. Some Wine of Origin areas have been demarcated. Extensive sheep farming is the basis of the economy in the southern Karoo areas of the province.

The last remaining true San (Bushmen) people live in the Kalahari area of the Northern Cape. The area, especially along the Orange river, is rich in San rock engravings. A good collection can be seen at the McGregor Museum in Kimberley.

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