This route is the best way to get to Namibia, but it has so much more on offer. It’s dotted with small towns, each with its own local flavour and story to tell. The N7 highway stretches from Cape Town all the way through the Northern Cape and into Namibia. Crossing from the Western Cape into the Northern Cape, travellers will encounter towns that capture the province’s Nama heritage. Slow down and appreciate the unique stories of the people of Garies, Kamieskroon, Springbok, Okiep, Steinkopf and Vioolsdrift. You’re in for a treat if you go during springtime, as you’ll get to see the floral kaleidoscope that is the Namakwa floral season.
The route includes hidden gems like Garies, Kamieskroon, Hondeklip Bay, Koiingnaas and Kleinzee. There are dozens of adventure and leisure options available, like the Namaqua National Park, nature reserves and some of the most remote hiking and 4x4 trails imaginable. Or go succulent sleuthing with a botanical guide, hike the Springbok Klipkoppie for a dose of South African War history and explore the countless shipwrecks along the coastline. This area is remarkable with its breath-taking scenes of the Atlantic Ocean (which may include sightings of dolphins and whales), great mountain vistas and veld with endemic wildlife.
The Richtersveld is South Africa’s only mountain desert and the route travels along rugged gravel roads to quaint towns such as Eksteensfontein, Sendelingsdrift, Lekkersing, Kuboes and Sanddrift. The entire Richtersveld is a mountain biker’s dream, while the Orange River offers a more leisurely pace with river rafting and the best wilderness fly-fishing in South Africa.
Named after the indigenous quiver tree, the Quiver Tree Food & Wine Route follows the mighty Orange River and features quaint towns like Upington, Kakamas, Keimoes, Augrabies, Marchand, Kanoneiland, Kenhardt and Riemvasmaak. The Riemvasmaak Hot Springs, river rafting, fly fishing, kayaking, river cruises, 4x4, hiking and MTB trails and excellent bird watching are some of the fun activities this route has on offer. And since it’s the longest wine producing area in the Southern Hemisphere, there are many opportunities to taste world-class wines and brandies.
Head to the heart of the Kalahari to discover the essence of the Northern Cape. Stretching from Upington right to the Namibian border, you’ll be greeted by golden dunes, wide-open skies and flat-topped acacia trees, and you’ll traverse through towns like Askham, Groot and Klein Mier and Rietfontein. Adventure-loving families and adrenaline seekers will be spoilt for choice: enjoy dune hikes at dawn, eagle-owl encounters, closeups with meerkats and sand surfing and -duning. Explore South Africa’s newest world heritage site, The Khomani San Cultural Landscape, and join a guided walk with the San Khomani to learn about their customs and traditions.
This new heritage route offers a confluence of cultures and experiences: famous archaeological sites, historic towns, amazing architecture and a selection of nature and game reserves. Discover more about the area’s early geological history (from three billion years ago) or follow in the footsteps of the early explorers and missionaries such as David Livingstone, Henry Stanley and Robert Moffat. Visit important sites of the South African Wars, explore the Wonderwerk Caves between Kuruman and Danielskuil and learn the Khoisan history in Wildebeest Kuil near Barkly West.
This route along the N12 passes through the towns of Warrenton, Kimberley, Hopetown, Britstown and Victoria West. Learn about the region’s rich mining history in Kimberley and then head to one of the route’s many nature reserves for some fly-fishing, kayaking, mountain biking, trail running, game drives and world-class birding. South African War enthusiasts can relive the skirmishes and tribulations of the war at the McGregor and Magersfontein Museums and at Hopetown. Meet the local artists who sell their beautiful creations all along the route.
Nieuwoudtville, Calvinia, Williston, Sutherland, Fraserburg, Carnarvon, Loxton and Victoria West – you’ll pass through these small, quintessentially Karoo towns while travelling on this route. Those who seek peace and tranquillity will find it in the Karoo with its wide-open plains, but the area also offers many unique experiences: dinosaur hunting in Richmond, the SKA radio telescopes in Carnarvon, Karoo architecture and corbelled houses, South African War sites, rock art, ancient Paleo surfaces, farm stays and great Karoo cuisine and hospitality. The small town of Nieuwoudtville is your last stop before you cross through the majestic Vanrhyns Pass en-route to Cape Town.
For more information visit: www.experiencenortherncape.com