Northern Cape Highlights 15 days / 14 nights

No malaria

We cover: Two Trans Frontier Parks / Three National Parks / Eight Conservation areas

Shortened program:

  • DAY 1 Meet at Kimberley Airport
  • DAY 2 Kimberley – Mokala National Park
  • DAY 3 Mokala
  • DAY 4 Mokala – Witsand Nature Reserve
  • DAY 5 Witsand – Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
  • DAY 6 and 7 Kgalagadi
  • DAY 8 Kgalagadi – Mier / Klipkolk
  • DAY 9 Klipkolk – Ai-Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park / Namibia
  • AY 10 Ai-Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park / South Africa
  • DAY 11 Ai-Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park
  • DAY 12 Ai-Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park – Diamond Coast
  • DAY 13 Diamond Coast – Namaqua National Park
  • DAY 14 Namaqua National Park – Augrabies Falls National Park
  • DAY 15 Augrabies Falls – Upington

DAY 1 – Kimberley

We meet at Kimberley Airport, then visit Kimberley’s BIG HOLE, which is the largest hand-dug excavation in the world. The Mine Museum takes one back to a diamond-digging era more than a hundred years ago. We visit Kampher’s Dam where the largest flock of lesser flamingoes in Southern Africa, numbering 25 000, are permanent residents.

We also visit the Mcreggor Museum with its display of the origin of mankind and where arte facts from the Wonderwerk Cave are housed. The Wildebeestkuil Rock Art Centre just outside Kimberley is also an option. This is one of South Africa’s premier rock art sites (with over 400 engravings) with audiovisual introduction, displays and audio tour on site. !Xun and Khwe San art crafts on sale in shop and tearoom.

Overnight: Kimberley

Meals: B L D

DAY 2 – Kimberley – Mokala National Park

Drive to Mokala National Park. Visit en route the Anglo Boere War battlefield site and museum at Magersfontein.

Mokala National Park is situated 81 km south of the diamond city Kimberley in the Northern Cape Province. The land of the previous Vaalbos National Park near Barkly West was handed back to local people and in a huge operation more than 800 head of game was trans-located from Vaalbos to Mokala. The grassy plains studded with camelthorn trees and isolated dolerite hills give Mokala a typical African feeling.

Mokala is home to many endangered species including black- and white rhino, Cape buffalo, roan antelope, sable antelope and tsessebe. Other species include black & blue wildebeest, giraffe, eland, kudu, gemsbok, red hartebeest, Burchell’s zebra, waterbuck and mountain reedbuck .are some of the species roaming the sandy plains.

Various bird species, including a white-backed vulture breeding colony numbering 200 birds and many lizard species can be seen in Mokala and leopard tortoises are common sightings in summer, Afternoon game drive.

Optional activities: sunset drive and bush braai, Vulture drive, San rock art drive and endangered species drive

Overnight: One of the camps in Mokala

Meals: B L D

DAY 3 – Mokala National Park

Game drives according to your wishes.

Overnight: One of the camps in Mokala

Meals: B L D

DAY 4 – Mokala – Witsand Nature Reserve

Last game drive, then we depart to Witsand Nature Reserve. Wine tasting at the Douglas Wine Cellar near the confluence of the Vaal- and Orange Rivers.

Few eco-destinations in the Northern Cape are as scenic as Witsand Nature Reserve. Only Witsand can offer you sensual, flowing white dunes – twenty to sixty metres high, surrounded by copper-red Kalahari sand, Acacia woodland and the Langberg Mountain Range. Home of the famous “Brulsand” or Roaring Sands of the Kalahari. Under the right conditions, this dunes utter a rumble when disturbed.

Witsand Nature Reserve is a scenic reserve teeming with bird life. More than 150species have been recorded, including the Namaqua sandgrouse, sociable weaver and Africa’s smallest raptor the pygmy falcon. Gemsbok, springbok, red hartebeest, common duiker and steenbok are residents. Afternoon scenic drive and walk to the bird hide.

Overnight: Witsand

Meals: B L D

DAY 5 – Witsand – Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

We drive a scenic road to Kgalagadi. Twee Rivieren is our first camp.

Game such as gemsbok, springbok, eland, giraffe, blue wildebeest and red hartebeest roam the sparsely vegetated red sand dunes and the dry river valleys of the Nossob and Auob where a variety of acacia species thrive.

Kgalagadi is well known for good sightings of lion, leopard and cheetah and spotted – and brown hyena are common residents. Because of an abundance of prey in the form of mice, whistling rats, birds and insects, smaller predators thrive in the park. The park is home to caracal, honey badger, black-backed jackal, bat-eared fox, cape fox, African wildcat, mongoose and the ever-popular suricate (meerkat).

Kgalagadi is a bird watcher’s paradise with more than 300 species recorded including at least 20 larger raptor species. The world’s heaviest flying bird, the Kori bustard and the stately secretary bird patrol the riverbeds while the noisy northern black korhaan rule in the dunes.

Overnight: Twee Rivieren

Meals: B L D

DAY 6 and 7 Kgalagadi Trans Frontier Park

Game drive to Nossob/ Mata Mata.

Overnight: Nossob/Mata Mata depending on availability.

Meals: B L D

DAY 8 – Kgalagadi – Klipkolk Guest Lodge

We depart to Klipkolk Lodge. Stop at the Khomani Bushmen.

We drive through the Mier area. The people inhabit the area since the 1830’s. We travel through the small villages Klein Mier, Groot Mier and Philandersbron to Klipkolk. From the road we have a beautiful view over the 14 000 ha Hakskeen Pan, previously known as Oxford Pan. The road to Philandersbron cross the pan.

Klipkolk is the only facility of its kind in the remote Rietfontein region. The original house on Klipkolk was erected in the late 1800’s. The 12 ha Klipkolk Dam and adjacent Sweet Thorn (Acacia Karroo) bush, situated close to the camping area, offers splendid bird viewing, with more than 100 species identified, including waterfowl. The owners of Klipkolk are great chefs and specialize in local foods.

Overnight: Klipkolk Lodge

Meals: B L D

DAY 9 – Klipkolk – Ai-Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park

Proceed to Rietfontein Border Post and enter Namibia. We drive through the vast plains of Southern Namibia to the Ai-Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park. This park spans some of the most spectacular scenery of the arid and desert environments in Southern Africa. Bisected by the Orange River, which forms the border between South Africa and Namibia, it comprises the Ai-Ais Hot Springs Game Park in Namibia and the Richtersveld National Park in South Africa.

Distinctive features in the area include the Ai-Ais Hot springs and the 2nd largest canyon in the world, the Fish River Canyon. This awe-inspiring canyon measures 160 km in length, up to 28 km in width and reaches a depth of 550 m. This arid zone is further characterised by a unique and impressive variety of succulent plant species, which makes this park an undisputed biodiversity ‘hot spot’.

We enter the Park at Hobas and visit different viewpoints overlooking the canyon. Although the Park is not known as a game park, springbok, gemsbok, red hartebeest, Hartman’s zebra, kudu, klipspringer and ostrich survive in this harsh land.

Continue to Ai-Ais via the 102 000 ha private conservation area, Gondwana Canyon Park. Ai-Ais, which means, “burning water” in one of the local languages, refers to the sulphurous hot springs which are found in this area. One of these springs has its eye within the camp. Ai-Ais is situated at the southern end of the Fish River Canyon. Relax in the warm pools and spa.

Overnight: Ai-Ais Resort / Canon Lodge.

Meals: B L D

DAY 10 – Ais-Ais – Richtersveld Transfrontier Park

Today we depart to Richtersveld through the vast barren plains of southern Namibia. Enter South Africa by pontoon at Sendelingsdrift. The Richtersveld mountain desert is regarded as the only true desert and one of the last wilderness areas in South Africa and was recently declared a world heritage site. The rainfall in some areas is less than 50 mm per annum. The Park nestles in a 100 km loop of the Lower Orange River, which forms the border with Namibia.

The Richtersveld is regarded as a geological masterpiece and is one of the world’s most prolific and richest succulent areas, nurturing 30% of South Africa’s succulent species, including 3 Quiver tree species and the very rare legendary “halfmens”. Although game is not the main attraction of the Richtersveld Park, there are species such as the very rare Hartman’s Zebra, Grey Reebok, Klipspringer, Duiker, Steenbok, Leopard, Caracal, Black backed jackal, Baboons and Vervet monkeys. The park harbours a small number of indigenous people, who live their lives as goatherds, unchanged from the time when their hardy ancestors lived.

Overnight: One of the camps in the Park

Meals: B L D

DAY 11 – Ais-Ais – Richtersveld Transfrontier Park

Game drives and hikes.

Overnight: One of the camps in the Park

Meals: B L D

DAY 12 – Richtersveld – Diamond Coast

The Northern Cape West Coast ( Diamond Coast) stretches from the Orange River mouth south for about 300km. It has remained virtually unknown to the public at large as it is within the restricted and previously forbidden diamond mining areas. Today most of these areas are open to the public and the area between the Groen- and Spoeg Rivers have been introduced into the Namaqua National Park. The Diamond Coast offers alluvial diamond mine tours, a world-renowned resident seal colony containing more than 350 000 animals, shipwrecks, the Orange River mouth, which is a RAMSAR declared estuary, various conservation areas, South Africa’s only lichen field, eco friendly 4×4 trails, excellent bird life, rough coastline with unspoiled beaches, spring flowers in season, mild summers and a seafood delicacy, crayfish.

We depart to Alexander Bay on the Diamond Coast on the cold Atlantic Ocean. Visit the estuary at the Orange River mouth near Alexander Bay. This previous restricted diamond area is now open to public. The Orange River Wetland is declared as a RAMSAR site and is home to more than 60 bird species including pelicans and many flamingos. After a drive to the mouth we continue to the Lichen Hill. The Richtersveld vegetation has unique species with awesome adoptions to survive in its semi desert climate. One km outside Alexander Bay, a hill of 5 hectares is covered with lichen – the only one of its kind in South Africa. Lichen is neither plant nor animal, consisting of algae and fungi living together in symbioses. Continue south along the coastline to the small harbour town Port Nolloth.

We drive on to Kleinzee. We enter the previously restricted diamond area owned by The Beers. The accommodation is situated on the shoreline. Whales are very often seen close to the shoreline.

Overnight: Noup Diamond Divers’ Camp/similar or camping at Koingnaas Caravan Park

Meals: B L D

DAY 13 – Diamond Coast – Namaqua National Park.

We exit the security area at Koingnaas and travel to Hondeklip Bay, which relies for its survival on a small crayfish industry and a few diamond boats operating from its harbour. This small remote seaside village has an unpretentious rural charm. Visit the wreck of the Jahleel in the bay and the Aristea.

Drive on to Soebatsfontein, where we enter the Namaqua National Park. Namaqua National Park is situated in the world’s only arid biodiversity hotspot. Namaqualand is home to more than 6000 plant species, 250 species of birds, 78 species of mammals 132 species of reptiles and amphibians and an unknown number of insects, making it the world’s most diverse arid environment. More than 40% of these species are found nowhere else on earth.

During early August and September, seemingly overnight, the dusty valleys of Namaqualand are transformed into a wonderland, carpeted with wildflowers. With its winter rainfall, Namaqualand is home to the richest bulb flora of any arid region in the world.

During the rest of the year the Namaqualand is still worth a visit to enjoy the star-studded night skies and the barren landscape with enormous granite outcrops.

Overnight: Namaqua National Park

Meals: B L D

DAY 14 – Namaqua National Park – Augrabies Falls National Park

We drive on to Springbok, the main town of Namaqualand. Visit the Springbok Lodge.The history of Springbok and the copper mining industry are displayed on the walls and the huge collection of gemstones of the owner Jopie Kotze is on display too.

We drive on to Augrabies Falls National Park through the plains of the northern Bushmanland and the small, but known town, Pofadder. Visit the Augrabies Falls, which is the sixth largest waterfall in the world when South Africa’s largest river, the Orange is in flood. The word Augrabies derives from the Khoi meaning ‘place of great noise. Scenic – and game drives in this moon landscape-like land to viewpoints such as Ararat, Oranjekom on the Orange River Gorge and the Swartrante from where we have a great view of this arid rocky desert landscape.

Augrabies is mostly a scenic park, game such as giraffe, springbok, gemsbok, eland, kudu red hartebeest, Hartman’s zebra and klipspringer survive in this unique riverine ecosystem. Fish eagles and black eagles are common residents.

Overnight: Augrabies

Meals: B L D

DAY 15 – Augrabies – Upington

Last game drive, walk to the Falls, early hike on the Dassie Trail before we depart to Upington. Visit Bezalel wine farm and Pienk pad stal.

Arrival at Upington late afternoon. End of tour.

Included: driver/guide, vehicle, fuel, meals, accommodation, cross-border fees.

Excluded: daily conservation fees and optional activities.

  • Conservation fee of R300 per person per day payable Kgalagadi cash or credit card
  • Bottled water / soft – and alcoholic drinks / snaks in between meals (shops available at every camp)

Accommodation is depending on availability and program may be slightly different.

ALTERATIONS TOURS: Accommodation may vary due to weather conditions and availability.

Member of Endangered Wildlife Trust

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