Home to the ancient San people, the Northern Cape is about wide-open spaces, an utterly beautiful coastline and a number of unique national parks offering the tourist a very different experience of the South African landscape. This province boasts a colorful history and a variety of cultural tourist attractions and is particularly well known for its incredible annual floral display that takes place in Namaqualand.
Reasons for Visiting Northern Cape:
- Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape – Recently inscribed as the eighth World Heritage Site in South Africa, the Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape is a remarkable mountainous desert in the north-west of the country that is uniquely owned and managed by the Nama community, descendents of the Khoi-Khoi people.
- Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park – Africa’s first formally declared trans-border conservation area, the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, on the border of South Africa and Botswana, was officially launched on May 12, 2000.
- Augrabies Falls National Park/span> – The Khoi people called it ‘Aukoerebis’, the place of the Great Noise, referring to the Orange River thundering its way downwards for 60 metres in a spectacular waterfall.
- Tswalu Kalahari Reserve – Surrounding the rugged Koranneberg Mountains in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa, Tswalu Kalahari Reserve covers 1000km² (100 000 ha) of land on the edge of the mysterious desert wilderness that is the Kalahari.
- Namaqualand Flower Route – The spring wild flowers are a phenomenon that never ceases to amaze and delight, even for those who live in what is considered South Africa’s “outback” – Namaqualand.
Population in Northern Cape:
1, 100, 000
The Northern Cape and Namaqualand is a dry, hot region that is classified as semi-desert. It scarcely ever rains and some areas have less than 100 millimetres of annual rainfall. The cold Benguela current carries very little humidity and as a result rain clouds rarely form. Summer day temperatures along the coast are pleasantly hot after the morning fog banks clear. Inland the temperatures are far more extreme, often above 40 degrees C during the day. In winter the days are warm and evenings can be cold with nightly frosts.
Best Time to Visit:
The Northern Cape is a semi-arid region with little rainfall in summer. The weather conditions are extremely cold in winter and extremely hot in summer.
South African Rand (ZAR)
Tipping indicates appreciation for good service
Tipping is widely practiced in South Africa. Here is some information on South African tipping.
- In restaurants and bars, 10% is the accepted tipping standard.
- Parking attendants and security guards are common in parking lots and at roadside bays. They generally ask if they can watch your car while you are going about your business – if you agree, a tip of R2 and up should be offered, depending on the length of your stay.
- In South Africa we still have the luxury of petrol attendants at gas stations to fill up our vehicle tanks, check oil, water and tyre pressure, and clean the windscreens, a tip of R2 and up should be offered.
- The going rate for porters at airports is around R7 per piece of luggage.
- Some of the other service providers you may want to tip are taxi drivers, tour guides and assistants in hairdressers and beauty salons. Should you need assistance in taking your purchases from supermarket to your vehicle, you may want to show your gratitude to your helper with a small monetary reward.
South Africa is a very multicultural society and therefore has many different customs. Some examples:
- Our English customs are the same as Britain because South Africa was once a British colony and was influenced greatly by them.
- The Afrikaans customs, these were influenced by the Dutch immigrants during the late 1820’s.
The Zulu culture has many unusual customs that are different from today’s western cultures. These are some traditional Zulu customs which are still practiced in parts of Kwa-Zulu Natal.