Scenery from the Greater Karoo.
Scenery from the Greater Karoo.
Kimberley Big hole. 
Picture: Handout/Supplied
Kimberley Big hole. Picture: Handout/Supplied

Kimberley - With the 2015 summer holidays in full swing, visitors to the Northern Cape have been encouraged to re-connect, re-charge and re-discover the Province.

Northern Cape tourism, which launched its summer campaign earlier this month, urged holiday makers to start their summer holidays “the moment they depart” and enjoy a leisurely drive through the Province en route to their end destination.

“Linger a little longer and enjoy the abundance of events, activities and attractions located just off the major routes. If you have a little more time, explore some of the hidden travel gems of this amazing Province and stay over for a night or two.”

The Northern Cape summer campaign is being held in partnership with the district municipalities, local municipalities and the provincial Department of Transport, Safety and Liaison. Tourism teams will welcome all motorists and visitors to the Northern Cape at various key points with information guides and a warm friendly smile.

Key points include the Kimberley Visitor’s Centre at the Big Hole, the Olive SA Visitor Centre on the N18 to/from Mahikeng, Die Werf in Keimoes on the N14, the Williston Mall and Trans Karoo Country Lodge in Britstown and the Karoo Deli in Victoria West on the R63.

Attractions

From Johannesburg to Cape Town, the N1 takes travellers through the historical town of Colesburg with must-see attractions including the Struggle Route, donkey cart tours at Karretjie village, or visit the beautifully decorated Anglican Church built in 1854. Those interested in Anglo-Boer War history are encouraged to visit the Kemper museum with its excellent collection of Anglo-Boer War photographs and artefacts and a 19th century toy collection.

Travellers are also invited to detour from the N1 via the N12 through Victoria West by adding a day or two onto their programme and visit one of the largest solar energy plants in South Africa, only 6km outside De Aar, en route to Rolfontein Nature Reserve and Vanderkloof Dam.

The capital of the Northern Cape, Kimberley, is a bustling city with loads of riveting tourism attractions including the Big Hole and the Kimberley museums, Galeshewe township tour and historical sites.

Wildlife enthusiasts can visit Dronfield Nature Reserve and Mokala National Park.

Britstown is a perfect stop-over to stretch legs or travellers can stop at the Transkaroo Country Lodge for a taste of true Karoo slow food and hospitality. The Victoria Trading Post in Victoria West offers great coffee and local food and a chance to stock up on Christmas gifts.

Travelling along the R63 will take visitors through the heart of the Hantam in the Karoo region with towns like Nieuwoudtville and Calvinia awaiting eager travellers.

Must-see attractions include the Hantam National Botanical Garden, the spectacular Nieuwoudtville Falls and the Oorlogskloof Nature Reserves.

The Matjiesfontein Farmstall offers travellers tea and light snacks in a historical building surrounded by a variety of wild flowers.

Fans of astronomy should stop in Carnarvon to see the Square Kilometre Array, the site of the world’s most powerful radio telescope, or visit the Williston Mall for the best milkshakes and a splash pool.

The N7 highway is the gateway to Namibia and here visitors are urged to slow down and appreciate the unique stories of the people of Garies, Kamieskroon, Springbok and Steinkopf. From the Namaqua National Park, Goegap Nature Reserve to a Nama cultural settlement and Anglo-Boer graves, companions can easily trace the diverse cultural roots of this part of the Northern Cape.

Springbok is home to the first commercial copper mine in the country as well as the oldest melting furnace of its kind in the country, and has been declared a national monument.

Contrast

Prepare yourself for the Green Kalahari region as the N8 reveals the divine contrast of the Province with lush green vineyards along the fertile Orange River valley dissecting the traditionally arid region. Small towns like Campbell, Griquatown and Groblershoop offer welcome rest stops along the way, while the bustling hub of Upington is perfect for a stay-over with loads of attractions including a sundowner cruise on the river, the Augrabies Falls National Park and the wine tastings at local cellars and wine and brandy estates.

Upington is also the gateway to the Kalahari region with its incredible natural beauty and rich wildlife.

Visitors heading west along the N14 towards the West Coast will travel from Kuruman in the Kalahari via the mining town of Kathu through Upington and its unique Quiver Tree Food and Wine Route to Springbok in the Namaqua before heading for the blue waters of the Atlantic and quaint seaside towns like Port Nolloth and the Blue Flag beach of McDougal’s Bay.

Visit “The Eye” of Kuruman, a spring that yields 20 million litres of water per day, the Robert Moffat Mission named after Robert Moffat who translated the Bible into Setswana, and Wonderwerk Cave, archaeological excavations of the 140-metre-long caves which dates back over a million years.

According to the Acting MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, Mac Jack, the summer campaign provides an ideal opportunity to interact with travellers.

“Not only do we use this exercise to welcome visitors to our Province, but the tourism teams also have the chance to introduce traveller’s en route to other destinations to the magnificence of the Northern Cape.

“This raises awareness of the Northern Cape as a potential summer holiday destination and also urges motorist to make use of our great accommodation facilities and stay over within the Province. We would like to encourage holiday makers to take a slow drive through the Northern Cape and discover the magic and mystery of our beautiful Province,” Jack said.

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