Wildflowers, wildlife & diamonds

The Northern Cape is South Africa’s largest province but home to the smallest human population - instead proffering an abundance of wildlife that live in the vast spaces of its semi-desert landscape. The upper Karoo’s rocky plains wane into the dunes of the Kalahari and to the west, the cold Atlantic meets its stretch of coastline. The soil yields wildflowers, wildlife, and diamonds.

Paddle the Orange River that cuts through the province. At times it is a powerful surging tide and then a slow stream. Camp on its banks and soak in the silence that encompasses the landscape. Further down the river, the mighty Augrabies Falls thunders into the eroded, granite gorge below, said to conceal the biggest cache of diamonds in the world. Gaze down into Kimberley’s mammoth mining hole - excavated by hand - that sparked the beginning of a diamond rush and the town.

Wild populations of leopard, cheetah and black-maned lion roam the grasslands and dunes of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. For an entirely different ambience, the |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park’s rugged, mountainous and lunar-like landscape hides rock hyrax, jackal buzzard, and Hartmann’s mountain zebra. The semi-nomadic Nama people inhabit the area, depending on the succulent vegetation and their sheep and goats to sustain their lifestyle.

Highlights

  • The Northern Cape is South Africa’s largest province, but has the smallest population, playing to the vast, open spaces of the semi-desert landscape
  • Wild populations of leopard, cheetah and black-maned lion roam the grasslands and rippling red dunes of the 2 million hectare Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
  • The |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park’s mountainous landscape houses rock hyrax, jackal buzzard and Hartmann’s mountain zebra
  • Gaze down into Kimberley’s mammoth mining hole, excavated by hand, that sparked the beginning of the diamond rush town
  • The Northern Cape is South Africa’s largest province, but has the smallest population, playing to the vast, open spaces of the semi-desert landscape

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