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The largest province in South Africa, Northern Cape, is also the least populous. Famous for its diamond mines, the region is dominated by the Karoo Basin, and its cities are quite far apart from one another. Its western coast is best known for its spring flowers, while Kimberley, the capital city, is home to the famous Big Hole as well as museums, galleries and memorials.
It is recommended to get around with car hire in Northern Cape due to the province’s size. There are pick-up locations in major cities across the state including Kimberley and Upington, and at both the province’s airports. Secure the lowest rates with major suppliers such as Argus, 121 and Sixt when you compare car hire ahead of time.
Kimberley Airport and Upington Airport both receive flights from Cape Town and Johannesburg, which are serviced by airlines from all over the world. Trains that run from Johannesburg to Cape Town stop in Kimberley, and Interscape buses travel to all major cities in the province. A number of main road routes serve Northern Cape, including the N-10, the N-12 and the N-14.
Like the rest of South Africa, driving in Northern Cape is done on the left. All major routes running through the province are toll roads with a maximum speed limit of 120kph, while smaller highways have a speed limit of between 80 and 100kph. It is illegal to turn on a red light.
From Kimberley, travel along the N-12 with car rental in Northern Cape to the Karoo region to visit horse and Moreno sheep farms, and the heritage town of Graff-Reinet. If starting in Upington, head to the spectacular Augrabies Falls bordering Namibia or drive southwest to the coast and take in Namaqua National Park. Visiting Alexander Bay at the mouth of the Orange River is also worthwhile.
The entire province sees hot weather for most of the year, with rainfall hitting the west of the province in the winter and the east in the summer. January is the hottest month, with highs of 33°C and lows of 18°C, while July is the coolest month, with highs of 17°C. In the Roggeveld Mountains, it can get as cold as -3°C in the winter.