The Northern Cape is a semi-desert region with rainfall ranging between 50mm and 400mm. This province is not only the largest province in South Africa; it is also the most sparsely populated province.
Northern Cape has a shoreline in the west on the South Atlantic Ocean. It borders the following areas of Namibia and Botswana:
Domestically, it borders the following provinces:
With the powerful Orange River snaking through the centre of this majestic province also known as the Bushman region, the Northern Cape is well known for its grapes from Upington, Iron from Sishen and diamonds from Kimberley. With temperatures that ranges from 0°C in winter (May to July) to 40°C during summer (mid-October to mid-February) the Northern Cape can offer the best of all seasons.
It is rich in minerals, with the country's major diamond pipes found in the Kimberley district. Alluvial diamonds are found on the opposite, western side of the province, washed westwards by the Orange River into the Atlantic Ocean where they are extracted from the beaches and sea between Alexander Bay and Port Nolloth. Until recently, the majority of small to medium-scale alluvial operations were concentrated along or near the Vaal River system in the East. With the rapidly depleting deposits available for mining, there has been a gradual shift towards the Orange River system. The Sishen Mine near Kathu is the biggest source of iron ore in South Africa, while the copper mine at Okiep is one of the oldest mines in the country. Copper is also mined at Springbok and Aggenys.
Further North, deeper in the Kalahari towns like Kuruman and Kathu are situated, there is great history that dates back many years, and the mining town of Kathu that boasts with a fantastic golf course which stands out like an oasis in the middle of the desert.
Just a few kilometres from Kathu, lays an Iron Mine of Sishen. Further North is a town called Olifantshoek. It attracts tourists with the true magnetism of the Kalahari, White Sands of the great sand dunes that offer peace, tranquillity and wide open land of the desert and the harshness of the Kalahari.
The last remaining true San (Bushman) people live in the Kalahari area of the Northern Cape. The area, especially along the Orange and Vaal rivers, is rich in San rock engravings. A good collection can be viewed at the McGregor Museum in Kimberley. The province is also rich in fossils.
The economy of a large part of the Northern Cape, the interior Karoo, depends on sheep-farming, while the karakul-pelt industry is one of the most important in the Gordonia district of Upington.
Further to the West, the town of Upington is situated, renowned for its grapes and wine, the awesome Orange River feeding its land. Augrabies Falls National Park is situated higher North where the true power of the Orange River is demonstrated in 90 metre fall of the awesome angry waters. Linking South Africa to Botwana is the 2 million hectare sanctuary for wildlife. The Kalahari Gemsbok Park boasts with wildlife galore like gemsbok, springbok, blue wildebeest, red hartebeest, eland, lion, leopard, cheetah and many more.
Then there is the kaleidoscopic shower of Namaqualand's spring colours that attracts visitors from everywhere after the first spring rains that seems to be nature's perfect artist.