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.


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.

However 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.

Meerkats at Tswalu in thje Kalahari Desert of Northern Cape

Northern Cape accommodation, with the exception of the superb Tswalu Game Reserve and Tutwa Desert Lodge, tends to be simple and comfortable, rather than stylish. The focus is rather on enjoying the amazing landscapes and wildlife.

There are several National Parks to visit, including the magnificent Trans Kgalagadi Park which includes part of Botswana as well. The Augrabies Falls National park comes into its own just after good summer rains. Whilst the little-visited Richtersveld has some of the most dramatic mountain scenery in the country. (But accommodation here is self-catering only and you need a 4x4 for the harsh terrain.)


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

When to visit Northern Cape

Nov 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.
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.
MAX TEMP 25 ℃ / 77 ℉
MIN TEMP 12.5 ℃ / 55 ℉

May to mid-Aug

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.
MAX TEMP 20 ℃ / 68 ℉
MIN TEMP 5 ℃ / 41 ℉

Mid-Aug 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.
MAX TEMP 29 ℃ / 84 ℉
MIN TEMP 17 ℃ / 63 ℉

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Thank you for arranging such an excellent trip

"Nancy and I would like to thank you for arranging such an excellent trip to see the wildflowers in the Cape. As for the flowers, we couldn’t have picked a better year or a better time, and your itinerary got us into some of the most spectacular scenes, better than we had ever imagined! Thank You!! " Mr Bell
Did you know
  • SizeThis province is the size of Germany
  • ConservationThe province has the most national parks