Outdoor Activities in the Northern Cape
Outdoor Activities in South Africa
There are few countries in the world to rival South Africa when it comes to outdoor activities. The country has everything from rugged mountains to endless desert plains, rushing rivers and crashing waves, big five reserves and wetlands, lush forests and fynbos-covered hills that beg to be explored.
Large numbers of farms are now focusing on eco-tourism activities and the low population density, history of conservation and vast areas of inhospitable terrain has resulted in extensive areas of pristine, protected wilderness, where adventurous types can escape and sleep out under the stars.
The extensive coastline, with the cold Atlantic Ocean to the west and warm Indian Ocean to the east, is a haven for watersports enthusiasts. Scuba divers and snorkellers can enjoy tropical diving on some of the world’s most southerly coral reefs, while adrenalin junkies can get up close and personal with fearsome apex predators – including, from the safety of a cage - great white sharks.
Sea kayakers can marvel at the spectacular coastal landscapes in the company of whales, dolphins and seals, while the many rivers offer rafting from mild to wild. Kayakers can take guided tours of hippo- and crocodile-infested lakes and fly-fishermen can enjoy the grand mountain symphony being played around them as they cast into the many well-stocked rivers, dams and lakes.
Hiking, mountain-bike and 4x4 trails criss-cross the country, giving access to treasures such as rock art or to otherwise inaccessible beaches, mountain peaks and rivers. And it’s so easy to get away from it all here, even if you can’t leave town. All the cities have wonderful day walks and mountain-bike and 4x4 parks, where you can get some fresh air, grind your gears or improve your skills.
The sunny climate is ideal for enjoying the outdoors and while parts of the country suffer climatic extremes, the weather is predictable – so activity plans are rarely scuppered. Best of all, while the outdoor industry is well regulated, there is little of the nanny-state mentality you find elsewhere. In South Africa, the prevailing attitude is one of individual responsibility. There are few restrictions and even fewer crowds; permits and guides are easy to come by and if you want to go out and do your own thing, no-one is going to stop you.
Indeed there’s no room for any excuse, so get out there now!
Articles & Blogs
Northern Cape - Day 412:40pm 16 Dec
We dragged Nightjar Junior along on our Northern Cape road trip; mostly for his luggage-bearing capabilities but also partly for his sense of humour. Eventually, we asked him what he had to say for himself…
Awake at 7 again? This is not how I wanted to start every day of my holiday. On the other hand, wrestling with gnarly rapids and fighting to keep the current at bay? That I would not mind. I guess one has to accept the bad with the good, a splash of a day on the white waters of the Orange River is definitely worth lugging a few life jackets, paddles and boats across sand and rocks...
DESERT STORM4:52pm 12 Jul
We’re not talking just any old desert here. This is the Richtersveld, a rugged swathe of arid badlands, rough enough to make most other deserts look like kiddies’ sandboxes. (The lAi-lAis/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park is a World Heritage Site since 2007 for its Cultural and Botanical Landscape.) Here, halfmens trees and euphorbias stake their claim along peaks that rise up...