Outdoor South Africa

Northern Cape Province National Parks & Reserves
Map of Northern Cape Province
Special Feature. . .
Choice spots for viewing wildlife in Northern Cape & Northwest Provinces.

Within an area of scant summer rainfall, the arid interior is a world all on its own. Bleak though it may seem, it is a country of life. Scarcely orphans of the veld, mountain zebra and springbok thrive in the strangely haunting wilderness of the Great Karoo and its hiking trails.

Vegetation—small herbs, aromatic shrubs, succulents, and bulbs—is specially adapted to ensure minimal moisture loss in the hot sun. With good rains however, the veld blazes with colour, and the radiant yellow flowers of the wild pomegranate flutter on leafless twigs. To the north west, Namaqualand and the west coast are decked with wild flowers—daisies, irises, and mesems—the familiar companions of the miracle of spring in a semi-desert.

Akkerandam Nature Reserve
This 6,175 acre reserve has two main trails. One is flattish and easy. The other not and not, climbing up into Hantamsberg, but what views! Say hi to the antelopes.

Augrabies Falls National Park
In the language of the Namaqua people, who are indigenous to the area, this means "Place of Great Noise." That's just what happens when a river falls 220 feet, which is what the Orange does here. See the falls, but also make a point to explore the fascinating surrounding desert/riverine ecosystem.

Klipspringer Hiking Trail
Route: Circular route starting at the caravan park at Augrabies Falls via Twin Falls, Oranjekom and Echo Corner.
Length & Duration: 26 km 3 days
Accommodation & equipment: Stone huts built by the local people are equipped with bunks and fireplaces. Hikers must provide their own food, first-aid equipment, and sleeping bags. Closed from 15 October to end of February annually.
Max. Trail Capacity: 12

Near Augrabies Falls

Route: 8 km from Kenhardt, a desert area known for its saltpans.
Length & Duration: 4 km
Accommodation & equipment: No facilities available.
Max. Trail Capacity: No restriction

Goegap Nature Reserve
Famous for its wildflowers and succulents. A plant lover's must-see.

Kalahari Gemsbok National Park
Linked to the larger Gemsbok National Park in Botswana, this park weighs in at 36,000 sq. km—one of the largest wilderness areas in Africa. The semi-desert's erratic rainfall forces the parks huge population of wildlife to wander great distances from watering hole to watering hole. Because of the park's great size, the biodiversity is especially strong. Healthy numbers of springbok, gemsbok, eland, red hartebeest and blue wildebeest, and antelope roam about. They're stalked by 19 different predators, including the Kalahari lion, cheetahs, leopards, wild dogs, hyenas, and jackals.

Oorlogskloof Nature Reserve
12,350 acres along the eastern bank of the Oorlogskloof River. You can choose from 28 miles of hiking trails: set out for a day or three. No matter how long you go for, relax soaking up some negative ions by the spectacular waterfall here.

Richtersveld National Park
The newest national park in South Africa is for desert lovers. It covers more than 400,000 acres of highland desert bordering the Orange River in the northwest corner of Northern Cape Province.

Tankwa Karoo National Park
67,000 acres—none of it getting more than two inches of rainfall a year. Good place to see succulent Karoo vegetation.

Special thanks to the South African Tourist Board (SATOUR) for helping GORP develop South Africa park & hiking trails information.

Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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