things to do the Northern Cape

10 Interesting things to do the Northern Cape

There’s so much more to discover beyond Kimberley and its famous Big Hole in the vast expanse of the Northern Cape.

As the largest province with the smallest population, you might wonder about things to do in the Northern Cape. Well, look no further. This intriguing province offers a world of adventure and natural beauty waiting to be explored.

From breathtaking desert landscapes to unique wildlife encounters and rich cultural heritage, the Northern Cape has many activities and experiences to captivate every traveller’s heart.

Also read: 10 Things to do in Kimberley

1. Kalahari-Oranje Museum Upington

things to do the Northern Cape
Source: Facebook / @ Kalahari-Oranje Museum

The Kalahari-Oranje Museum in Upington resides within structures crafted by Reverend Schröder in 1875 for worship and mission. It showcases relics from that era and artefacts linked to Upington’s history and the Lower Orange River.

Within its walls stands a life-sized bronze donkey statue, sculpted by Hennie Potgieter, symbolising the selfless role donkeys played when pioneering the Lower Orange River Valley.

Established in 1884 along the Orange River’s banks in the Northern Cape, the town was originally named Olyfenhoudtsdrif due to the abundant olivewood trees. Later, it was renamed after Sir Thomas Upington, a prominent figure in Cape politics. The town’s origins trace back to Reverend Christiaan Schröder’s mission station, founded in 1875, now transformed into the Kalahari Orange Museum.

At an elevation of 835 m, Upington stands as the gateway to the Augrabies Falls and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. Despite its arid landscape, the fertile soil yields bountiful crops.

Opening hours: Monday – Friday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm; Saturday – Sunday, Closed

Address: 4 Short St, Upington

Contact: 054 331 2640

2. Die Pienk Padstal

things to do the Northern Cape
Source: Facebook / @ Die Pienk Padstal

Die Pienk Padstal, nestled on the road between Pofadder and Upington in Kakamas, is a must-visit for travellers. Here, you can load up on padkos essentials from dried fruits to savoury biltong, along with an array of snacks, refreshing drinks, and delightful homemade jams and chutneys. Watch for intriguing antiques and collectables that might catch your fancy as you wander.

It’s a tradition for anyone who pulls over at Die Pienk Padstal to snap photos before indulging in its incredible comforts.

Treat yourself to their ice-cold tea, and remember to savour a slice of cake or a packet of cookies before hitting the road again. This charming roadside deli is more than a pit stop; it’s a delightful journey within your journey.

Opening hours: Monday – Friday, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm; Saturday, 8:00 am – 4:00 pm; Sunday, 8:00 am – 2:00 pm

Address: Perseel 307, Augrabies Way, Kakamas

Contact: 083 381 9272

3. Oma Miemie Café and Bakery

things to do the Northern Cape
Source: Facebook / @ Oma Miemie Café and Bakery

Step into Oma Miemie Café and Bakery, a charming pastry haven where you’ll discover delightful indulgent treats.

Sip on rich, flavourful coffee while savouring homemade lamb pies that melt in your mouth.

Indulge your taste buds with a heavenly array of baked goods like moist carrot cake, decadent chocolate cake, and fluffy coffee cake. Don’t miss their flakey, all-butter croissants and creamy dark chocolate crème pâtissières.

Try their 70% dark chocolate brownie cakes, perfect with a cold, tasty milkshake. And the crumpet snack? It’s a true masterpiece, adorned with homemade strawberry and blueberry sauce, whipped lemony cream, and a drizzle of raw honey. Oma Miemie’s is your sanctuary of pastry pleasures.

Opening hours: Monday – Saturday, 8:00 am – 4:00 pm; Sunday, 9:00 am – 2:00 pm

Address: 1071 Hoof St, Kenhardt

Contact: 076 253 0912

4. Sakkie se Arkie

things to do the Northern Cape
Source: Facebook / @ Sakkie se Arkie

Sakkie se Arkie offers a tranquil journey along the majestic Orange River. Picture yourself reclining, taking in the breathtaking sunset on a scenic cruise.

As you drift along the river, indulge in bird-watching, great music, and pleasant company. The Kalahari sun warms you as you float along this magnificent river. For those 18 and older, there’s a fully licensed bar onboard, serving snacks and alcoholic beverages.

It’s an escape from the urban bustle, a chance to savour the Orange River’s incredible charm.

Opening hours: Monday – Sunday, 8:00 am – 22:00 pm

Address: Park Street, Upington

Contact: 082 564 5447

5. HondeKlipBaai Lighthouse

things to do the Northern Cape
Source: Facebook / @ Hondeklipbaai, Weskus

Hondeklipbaai Lighthouse is different from other typical lighthouse structures. Standing at an imposing 8 metres, this steel lattice tower may not please the eye, but its purpose remains paramount.

Nestled along South Africa’s West Coast, it is a vigilant sentinel for ships navigating the treacherous waters south of Port Nolloth. The lighthouse’s history dates back to 1956 when it first graced the Hondeklipbaai channel, but today, a new structure is anticipated, resembling those at Port Durnford and South Sand Bluff.

Initially guiding ships loaded with O’Kiep mine copper, it later safeguarded vessels connected to the crayfish cannery. In the late 1970s, factory staff relaxedly managed its fog signal, emphasising safety. Today, Hondeklipbaai thrives as a tranquil resort.

Opening hours: Monday – Sunday, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

Address: Hondeklip Bay

Contact: 0860 109 330

6. Bordeaux Colesberg

things to do the Northern Cape
Source: Facebook / @ Bordeaux Restaurant

Indulge at Bordeaux Coffee Shop & Restaurant in Colesberg for an authentic Karoo experience.

Located in the historic Bordeaux building, erected in 1830 by the Badenhorst family, the restaurant at 7 Church Street exudes pure charm—park your car quickly and savour tranquillity amid the bustle. Enjoy rustic dining and escape the city clamour.

Savour light bites and gourmet Karoo specialities at the restaurant. Family-friendly, kids play in the play zone. Parents can relish snacks on the shaded terrace.

Opening hours:  Monday – Thursday, 8:00 am – 8:30 pm; Friday – Saturday, 8:00 am – 9:30 pm; Sunday, 4:00 pm – 8:30 pm

Address: 7 Kerk St, Colesberg

Contact: 082 959 4349

7. Truce Tree

In 1914, amid a rebellion, 1200 rebels sought supplies in the Northern Cape town of Kuruman. After a skirmish, Kuruman’s defenders withdrew. While the insurgents didn’t seize the town, a treaty was signed beneath the Truce Tree.

This monumental tree bore witness as General JC Kemp surrendered to Captain JP Frylinck on November 8, 1914.

Standing tall and wise, the Truce Tree became a symbol of peace in turbulent times. Its branches sheltered not only negotiators but also hope for a better future. Today, it still stands, a living monument to reconciliation and the power of diplomacy, reminding all who visit of the importance of finding common ground amid conflict.

Opening hours: Monday – Sunday, All hours

Address: 46 Seodin Rd, Kuruman

Contact: 053 712 1001

8. Sterland Stargazing

Source: Facebook / @ Sterland Guest Houses & Stargazing

Step into the twilight realm of Sterland Stargazing in Sutherland, where stars paint the night sky. Each evening unveils celestial wonders through 6 telescopes, a captivating spectacle lasting an hour, or 1.5 hours at most.

Bundle up against the cool breeze, enhancing your cosmic journey. Confirm showtimes while booking, as adventures can stretch to 90 minutes.

Inside a 3-metre screen unveils constellations and the universe’s vastness. Venture outdoors guided by Jurg’s laser, unraveling stars and Southern Cross’s secrets. In 2018, the Stargazing team ventured to Jordan’s Wadi Rum, akin to Mars.

Lawrence of Arabia’s land, the Valley of the Moon, offers Martian landscapes. Seek Wadi Rum’s wonders.

Opening hours: June – July, from 7:00 pm; August – November, from 8:00 pm; December – March, from 8:30 pm; April – May, from 8:00 pm

Address: Piet Retief St, Sutherland

Contact: 082 556 9589

9. Modern Art Projects South Africa (MAPSA)

Source: Facebook / @ Modern Art Projects South Africa

Modern Art Projects South Africa (MAPSA) is a non-profit on a mission. Since 2005, they’ve championed contemporary art in South Africa.

They organise exhibitions, publish insightful works, and host artists in Richmond. MAPSA isn’t just about art; it’s about social change, too.

They tackle issues stemming from South Africa’s history, promoting positive transformation through creative expression. MAPSA isn’t alone in this journey, as they collaborate with local and international organisations to expand their reach and foster meaningful interactions.

Founders Harrie Siertsema and Abrie Fourie created MAPSA to empower artists nationwide and enrich Richmond’s community. Richmond is the heart of MAPSA’s creativity, hosting diverse cultural events and projects. MAPSA bridges artists, academics, students, and locals, creating a vibrant art tapestry from the Richmond Book Festival to the Land Art Project.

Opening hours: Monday – Sunday, 8:00 am – 4:00 pm

Address: 62 Loop St, Richmond – NC, Richmond

Contact: 082 775 4272

10. Fred Turner Museum Loeriesfontein

Source: Facebook / @ Loeriesfontein Fred Turner Windpompmuseum

A unique windmill museum lies in the Northern Cape’s Loeriesfontein, near Calvinia.

Approach town and admire the vast plains adorned with countless windmills. This collection showcases windmill evolution, vital for inhabiting South Africa’s arid plains. In this quiet town, the wind’s whispers accompany your stroll. One of only two such museums globally, it’s a must-visit.

Enter the open area and explore. Marvel at windmills, diverse in size and type – from the Atlas Ace Model C to the Conquest, Australian Southern Cross, English Hercules, American Aeromotor, and many others.

This historical display traces the wind’s role in transforming arid landscapes, a testament to human ingenuity. Discover the legacy of these iconic structures, which quietly shaped the land, offering a glimpse into a bygone era.

Opening hours: Monday – Sunday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Address: Lombard St, Loeriesfontein

Contact: 027 662 1023

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