A unique adventure in the semi-arid region of the Northern Cape
Come and explore the unique, unspoiled, rugged and natural beauty of the Northern Cape in this 10-day self-drive or guided journey! Find the black-maned lion and other iconic animals in one of the biggest national parks of the African continent and paddle down the mighty Orange River, taking you to places others will never see. An experience of a life-time.
Hello and a warm welcome to South Africa!
One thing is certain, the Northern Cape is different from any other region in South Africa. It’s a unique place not only because of the remoteness of the area and the semi-arid beauty, but also because it has a disconnected feel to it. You will feel much more ‘away from everything’ as this province is one of the most unspoiled regions of South Africa.
The mighty Orange River (Gariep) meanders through the land, from the Drakensberg mountains through the Augrabies Falls flirting with the Namibian border on its way to the Atlantic Ocean. It is a source of life, and in contrast with the semi-desert of the rest of the province, the Gariep magically transforms the area around it in a lush green zone.
The Northern Cape is the perfect place to be adventurous, discover wildlife in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, indulge unique sceneries, explore African cultures and from time to time take a deep breath to absorb the beauty of it all.
This tour takes you on a 10-day self-drive or guided tour, exploring the Northern Cape province of South Africa.
We hope to welcome you soon!
Sport n Safari team
Red Dune route from Upington to the green Kalahari of the Northern Cape
Lodge: B&B tented chalets
Distance : 1 Hour 40 minutes transfer
After your internal flight to Upington and collecting your rental car, the time has come to start your adventurous journey in the Northern Cape. Red dunes, salt pans, quiver trees, weaver nests and gemsbok are only some of the iconic features welcoming you on your drive to your first stay-over, a lodge with a true African feel. You’ll be spending one night here and your first dinner will be in full African style, with music and dance from the local Khomani SAN.
On route with a San tracker and afternoon in one of the biggest national parks in Africa
Lodge: Luxury lodge on the Botswana side of the park
Distance: 1 Hour 40 min drive
Today, the cultural theme continues with a one to two-hour morning walk with a local San tracker who will explain to you all about animal and insect tracks, medicinal plants, trees and grasses. A stop at the living museum includes an introduction into bow shooting, craft making, traditional games or making fire. The ancestors of the hunter-gatherer San are considered to have been the first inhabitants of Southern Africa.
The rest of the day is spent in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. After lunch at the wonderful small desert lodge not far from the park’s gates you can test your driving skills on the sandy roads and look for animals. Or, go on the afternoon game drive with a ranger. The changing scenery is exceptional and a feast for the eye. You’ll be driving along dry river beds, up and down through the dunes and be awed by the beauty around you.
Day 3 – Day 4
Game viewing in the pristine environment
The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is one of the biggest parks in Africa and slightly bigger than the Kruger Park. In 2000 it became Southern Africa’s first peace park spanning across South Africa and Botswana and is home to the magnificent black-maned lion.
Today you can either go on an organized morning and evening game drive with a ranger, or drive around yourself looking for the park’s predators together with all the other fauna and flora that make the Kgalagadi their home.
Increase your chances of viewing the lion or leopard with an early rise and checking out the waterholes just before sunrise. You will most likely see gemsbok, springbok, bat eared foxes, jackal, hartebeest and many more. The park is rich in bird species ideal for the birders and photographers. The kori bustard, secretary bird, martial eagle, bateleur and a whole host of beautiful birds make this semi-desert their home. The amazing little sociable weaver birds with their mansion homes are everywhere to see. At the end of the day you’ll have some amazing pics that show off how beautiful this place is.
After two full days in this beautiful park, you’ll leave the park just before the gates close and spend the night again in a tented chalet at the lodge outside the park.
From desert to river
Lodge: Stylish lodge near Augrabies Falls
Distance: 3 Hours’ drive
Today you are off to explore another beautiful region of the Northern Cape, the Augrabies Falls and Orange river. The drive up there takes you again through breathtaking landscapes, red rock formations, wide open spaces, views you never get tired of. Just before arriving in the town of Kakamas, lunch is served at a guesthouse in the middle of lush green vineyards. And that introduces your second stop of the day for some wine tasting in Kakamas. The area is part of the orange river wine route, a fertile oasis in a desert like region which creates a unique taste waiting for you to try out.
Before heading to the lodge for the night, a visit to a true local artist, dedicating his time to designing and creating handmade knives is a must. His collection is out of this world and definitely worth a visit.
Dinner is at the luxury lodge near Augrabies Falls , which is situated in its own private little oasis surrounded by desert and mountains, perfect for a good nights’ rest because tomorrow the adventures continue.
Adrenaline rush on the Orange River
lodge: Farm house on private game reserve
Distance: 45 min drive
Put on your bathing suites and be ready to get wet because the Orange river is waiting for you. A four-hour white river rafting will get your blood pumping and your heart beating faster. The rafting takes place just above the Augrabies Falls and has some challenging rapids. What makes it even more special is that this stretch of the river will be entirely yours alone. And don’t worry, you are in good hands and professionally guided until you set foot on land again.
A short walk to the Augrabies Falls must not be missed and if you have more energy to burn, there are a few trails to choose from. All time permitted off course.
Late afternoon, you are expected for a meet and greet on a private game reserve, your starting point for the 3-day trip down the river. The reserve is situated in a unique location, between the harsh Richtersveld and the spectacular Orange River. It belongs to one family who decided to open this beautiful place up to the public inviting guests to share and experience the unique Green Kalahari. Albeit a dessert, the reserve has a multitude of animals including leopard, giraffe, zebra, gemsbok, springbok, meerkat, aardvark, porcupine etc.
Day 7 – day 9
The Orange River reveals its beauty and secrets
Lodge: Tents on the river banks / Luxury lodge on private game reserve
After breakfast and final checks of your gear, you head out for an exciting two-night’s stay on the river. As you paddle down this wide river with a few smaller rapids, there is plenty of time to breathe in the fresh air, enjoy the silence and solitude while keeping an eyes out for game that might come down to drink at the river.
In between paddling the river, there is time for swims, try your hand at fishing or go for walks. Delicious meals are prepared on the river banks and the guides will make sure your cravings are satisfied.
At night, camps are set up, fires are lit and time to reflect on the day sipping a drink around the campfire and gazing at the amazing star-studded skies 😊
After the last night on the river and only a short paddle the next day, you are picked up and taken back to a luxurious lodge to freshen up and enjoy a scrumptious lunch. The enjoyment of discovering this part of the world continues on your afternoon and morning game drives. Never forget the elusive and secretive leopard is always present somewhere. You are spending the night in this luxurious lodge with its delicious cuisine accompanied by fine local wines.
Time to go home or…
After a good night’s rest, breakfast and a heavy heart, it’s time to leave.
All good things unfortunately have to come to an end or maybe not yet. You can easily extend this tour for a few extra days in the Cederberg Mountains on your way down to the world-famous town of Cape Town. Alternatively go up north, to explore Namibia and fly back home from Windhoek. We have some gems and equally wonderful places and activities for you to enjoy on both extensions for the above itinerary.
Self-drive tours with the above itinerary start from R25000. This includes all activities, accommodation and meals. Self-catering variations of the above tour are possible as well. Flight tickets and rental car is NOT included, but can be arranged on request by Sport n Safari.
The above tour can also be arranged as a guided tour.
Prices are subject to change depending on seasonal rate increases.