General information

Tourist information

Northern Cape Tourism Authority
Private Bag X5107, Kimberley 8300
Tel: +27 (0)53 833 1434 / +27 (0)53 832 2657
Fax: +27 (0)53 831 2937
Email: northerncapetourism@telkomsa.net

Land Area – 361 830km2 (the largest province in South Africa)
Population – ±1 058 060
Population density – three per square kilometre
Capital City – Kimberley
Major towns – Calvinia, Colesberg, Kuruman, Springbok and Upington
Languages – Afrikaans, English, Nama, Setswana and Xhosa

Tourist safety

Though the Northern Cape is a safe haven for tourists, we urge you to take the same precautions you would in any other city or town. Avoid the unnecessary display of valuables and do not walk in deserted places or go out alone at night.

International dialling

The international dialling code for South Africa is 027. The first 0 in the local dialling code falls away, e.g. 053 833 1434 becomes 027 53 833 1434.

Public holidays

New Year’s Day 1 January
Human Rights Day 21 March
Freedom Day 27 April
Workers' Day 1 May
Youth Day 16 June
National Women’s Day 9 August
Heritage Day 24 September
Day of Reconciliation 16 December
Christmas Day 25 December
Day of Goodwill 26 December

Banking

Most banks are open Monday to Friday 9am to 3.30pm, and Saturday 9am to 11am. ATMs (cash) are found in many towns.

Tax refund

Visitors to South Africa are not exempt from paying VAT (value-added tax) on bought goods. However, tourists can claim back the VAT paid on items with a total value exceeding R250 that they take out of the country with them.

Petrol (gas)

Though widely available at most towns, we recommend filling up before travelling long distances. On major routes and in bigger towns, petrol stations are open day and night.

Transport

Kimberley has air and rail links with most major South African cities. The airport is 8km out of town and there is no bus shuttle into or out of town. Major car hire companies, however, have rental kiosks at the airport. A taxi service is available on request. Tel +27 (0)53 861 4015 or +27 (0)53 842 1764. The capital city’s railway station is in Florence Street, close to the city centre.

Upington also has air links with all major cities in South Africa.

Air travel

SA Airlink
Headquarters – Johannesburg
Tel: +27 (0)11 451 7300
Website: www.flyairlink.com
Email: info@flyairlink.com
Kimberley: (handled by SA Express Airways)
Tel: +27 (0)53 838 3337
Upington: Tel: +27 (0)54 332 2161

Rail travel

Kimberley
Tel: +27 (0)53 838 2709 / +27 (0)53 838 2731
Shosholoza Meyl: Tel: +27 (0)53 838 2731 / +27 (0)53 2631

De Aar
Tel: + 27 (0)53 632 8204
Shosholoza Meyl: Tel: +27 (0)53 632 8204 

Inter-city bus services

Kimberley
Big Sky Coaches: Tel +27 (0)53 832 2006
Intercape: Tel +27 (0)53 832 6040/5
Greyhound: Tel + 27 (0)53 832 6040/5
Translux: Tel + 27 (0)53 832 6040/5

Springbok
Carstens Bus Service: Tel + 27 (0)27 712 1847
Intercape: Tel +27 (0)27 718 1600
Van Wyk’s Bus Service: Tel +27 (0)27 713 8559

Upington
Intercape Tel 054 332 6091

Coach tour services

Newton Tours: Tel +27 (0)53 833 3540

Car-hire companies

All car-hire companies are represented at the Kimberley airport

A sun for all seasons

Though we live in a semi-desert, don’t let it fool you into thinking we’ve no plant life. The western areas of the Northern Cape, which includes most of Namakwa and a small section of the Green Kalahari fall, into the winter rainfall area, i.e. April to September. These two subregions give breathtakingly beautiful and flamboyantly explosive displays of wild flowers from late July to November.

Not to be outshone by the floral splendour, the central and eastern summer rainfall areas unleash majestic, rolling thunderstorms. Booming across the wide plains, the lightning display threatens to shred the sky’s dark curtain, as bolts repetitively pierce the heavens and strike the Earth. Fading swiftly, they melt back into a quiet, cobalt sky.

The Northern Cape’s weather is typical of desert and semi-desert areas. We live in a large, dry region of fluctuating temperatures and varying topographies.

Our scant annual rainfall (50m to 400mm) is unreliable and very much lower than evaporation and, in January, afternoon temperatures are usually between 33 and 36° Celsius. In 1939, at Goodhouse on the Orange River, an all-time high of 47.8° Celsius was recorded! Though somewhat unusual, summer temperatures do sometimes top the 40° mark.

Winter days are warm – the onset of night bringing dew and frost to supplement our low rainfall. Sutherland, in the Hantam Karoo, is one of the coldest towns in southern Africa. Its average minimum is -6°. In winter, snow often blankets its surrounding mountains. In general, though, take it that you’ll enjoy hot summer days, warm company and chilly nights.