Northern Cape

The vast Northern Cape is one of the last true wilderness areas of Southern Africa, a secret land far to the north of the more cultivated Cape.

Overview

The vast Northern Cape is one of the last true wilderness areas of Southern Africa, a secret land far to the north of the more cultivated Cape.

No one who has travelled through the Kalahari of the Northern Cape can forget its raw grandeur. It is one of the last true wilderness areas of Southern Africa – a secret land far to the north of the more cultivated Cape. The Northern Cape encompasses the southern part of the Kalahari desert with its desert adapted wildlife, the gentle beauty of the Great Karoo as well as Namaqualand with its profusion of wild spring flowers.

The vast Northern Cape is certainly not homogenous. It comprises three distinct areas:

  • Namaqualand is the coastal strip between the Atlantic and the Karoo, known for its spring flowers after the winter rains
  • Inland lies the vast open spaces of the Great Karoo
  • North of the verdant Orange River lies the Kalahari, a land of desert red dunes, endless horizons and huge skies. Here you find two excellent National Parks, the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and the Augrabies Falls.
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Milandi Joubert

Africa Travel Specialist
Our experienced band of Safari Planners can create a bespoke plan for you. More enriching, more restorative and making more of a difference. Discover how working with a specialist adds value to your African adventure.

Features

Why you may love it

  • Augrabies Falls
  • The Kalahari lions of the Kgalakgadi Transfontier Park
  • Stay with the Bushmen communities at Xaus!
  • Relive the history surrounding the Big Hole in Kimberley
  • Enjoy superb game-viewing at Tswalu Game Reserve

Explore the Northern Cape map

When to visit Northern Cape

November to mid-March

Summer in Northern Cape

The arid Northern Cape pans a vast area. The eastern Karoo & Kalahari in a transitional climate zone with the little rain it gets mostly falling in the Summer. Whereas Namaqualand in the west shares small part of the winter rains of the Western Cape to its south. Summers are largely hot and dry with some afternoon thunderstorms bringing welcome rain typically every 3 days or so. Daytime temperatures are hot (easily low 30s or more), especially in the Kgalagadi National Park and Augrabies Falls. Even the nights stay warm in the summer.
AVG RAINFALL 26 mm
AVG DAYLIGHT 11 Hours
MAX TEMP 34 ℃ / 93 ℉
MIN TEMP 22 ℃ / 72 ℉

Mid-March to April

Autumn in Northern Cape

This is a great time of year as the sun is not so scorching during the day and the evenings are a pleasant temperature.
AVG RAINFALL 18 mm
AVG DAYLIGHT 9.5 Hours
MAX TEMP 25 ℃ / 77 ℉
MIN TEMP 12.5 ℃ / 55 ℉

May to mid-August

Winter in Northern Cape

The winter is mostly dry, except for Namaqualand, with sunny warm days of 21-23C but very cold nights. The vast interior of the Northern Cape gets very cold with night temperatures under 5C in the Karoo. However the nights are noticeably warmer towards the coast. This is typically considered the best time for game-viewing as the grasses die back and so it is easier to see the wildlife, especially the big cats. Late winter is also the best time to be in Namaqualand. Depending on the timing and duration of the rains July and early August brings some amazing wild flower displays in the surrounding country-side.
AVG RAINFALL 5 mm
AVG DAYLIGHT 9 Hours
MAX TEMP 20 ℃ / 68 ℉
MIN TEMP 5 ℃ / 41 ℉

Mid-August to October

Winter in Nothern Cape

As the temperatures start to increase from mid-August onwards, the mass fields of delicate flowers fade away. Inland the dry season continues and so this is an excellent time for game-viewing as the spring evenings are warmer and daytime temperatures are warm to hot, but not yet scorching.
AVG RAINFALL 17 mm
AVG DAYLIGHT 11 Hours
MAX TEMP 29 ℃ / 84 ℉
MIN TEMP 17 ℃ / 63 ℉

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Did you know
  • SizeThis province is the size of Germany
  • ConservationThe province has the most national parks