OVERVIEW OF THE NORTHERN CAPE
The Northern Cape is a land of many diverse cultures, and of frontier history and brave missionaries. It offers countless challenges for adrenaline junkies, hikers, hunters and 4×4 adventurers. It has impressive parks with endless game and some of the most unique flora in the world.
Much of its life and adventure is dependent on the sweeping tide of the Orange River, a 2 000km stretch of natural magnificence dubbed the !Garib (great river) by the Khoisan. It has ribbons of green along its banks that contrast with the arid surrounds. At some places it is 6km wide with an impassable torrent; at others, scarcely a stream.
The Kalahari Desert can be likened to a colossal sweeping river of another kind. Its red sands that once rippled and moved are now mostly stable and home to hundreds of diverse species of flora and fauna.
A place of vastness and silence, the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (bigger than some countries) extends across much of the Kalahari. Every now and then, the unmistakable cry of an African fish eagle rings out, or the gut-wrenching roar of a black-maned Kalahari lion carries across the landscape.
The openness continues to the vast koppie-strewn plains of the Karoo and Namakwa, where hardy succulents complement sweet grasses, and the clean, clear air is bedecked with stars at night.
Photographers, writers and orators fail to adequately communicate the experience. After watching springbok pronk through the veld, hundreds of wildebeest migrating, a wild cat stalking its prey and shooting stars sprinting across the sky, you will realise that this is a destination you can’t merely read about or drive through – it’s a destination you have to participate in.
Come and experience the Northern Cape …
CITIES AND TOWNS
At the mouth of the Orange River, the town is no longer a high-security area and no permits are needed. The town takes its name from Sir James Alexander, who shipped the Richtersveld copper ore he mined in barges down the Orange River for export from this bay.
The small town of Augrabies and Marshand lie on the banks of the Orange River and are surrounded by lush green vineyards. The towns are mostly populated by workers on the vineyards.
The discovery of diamonds at Klipdrift on the Vaal River in 1869 drew thousands of prospectors. The area was renamed Barkly West in 1873 after becoming part of the Crown Colony of Griqualand West.
Renowned writer Sarah Gertrude Millin grew up in the district. Her father opened and operated a shop in Barkly West. One of the first towns to be affected by the diamond rush, the district’s economy is driven by stock and irrigation farming and mining.
A private irrigation scheme was started by the Smartt Syndicate in 1885 and liquidated in 1954. The concern built two dams, planted lucerne and wheat and grazed karakul sheep and Clydesdale horses. The 1961 floods destroyed the Smartt Irrigation Board Dam, rebuilt by the government in 1964.
Founded in 1851 on the stunning Oorlogskloof River and named after religious reformer John Calvin, Calvinia lies at the foot of the dolerite-topped Hantam Mountains (Hantam being a Khoi word meaning \’where the red bulbs grow\’).
It is the region\’s key growthpoint and one of the country\’s largest wool-producing areas. Like Sutherland, Calvinia enjoys 80% starlight and the night sky is as much an attraction for city-dwellers and astronomers as the rare sterboom is for botanists and horticulturalists.
15 Villiers Street
Private Bag X5017
Telephone: 053 832 2657 (International: +27 (0)53 832 2657)
Facsimile: 053 831 2937 (International: +27 (0)53 831 2937)