South Africa has many faces, none as unlikely and impossible contrasting as the Northern Cape, a face that is often covered by clear, cobalt blue skies. Such a place is the region of the Green Kalahari. It is a living desert, easily accessible and an affordable destination that hold many surprises to the unsuspecting visitor. With excellent roads, friendly people and unspoilt environment, the Greenkalahari region is the place to be.

From Upington, the capital of the Green Kalahari, your travels will take you from a raisin-making factory to a catfish farm, from lush green vineyards and wine cellars to tearooms in the Kalahari desert, from a luxurious lodge in Groblershoop to the remains of a Bushman settlement in the Verneuk Pan near Kenhardt.

Make time to spoil yourself by doing the Black Rhino Adventure, riding into the desert sunset on camel back, take on the mighty Orange River Rapids in a colorful raft, explore winding nature trails with mountain bikes, visit date palm plantations, sheep farms and ancient mission stations, take to the skies in a parasail or sit down for a moonlit five-course meal in the middle of the biggest salt pan in the Southern hemisphere!

Later you can experience the thunderous roar of the Augrabies Waterfall or the challenges of the Kalahari and Riemvasmaak 4x4 Trails. As you continue on your journey, you will meet people who genuinely open their hearts and doors to all visitors. You’ll discover unique places, rare plants and elusive animal species of all kinds – raptors, big cats, antelope, insects and lizards.

In the late afternoon you can sip cocktails at the pool, overlooking the Mighty Orange River, watch the birds come home for the night and experience the awesome call of the Fish Eagle. Soon the night will fall, bringing the chill of the night and unveiling a universe that explodes in a splendour of stars so bright that you cannot resist the temptation to reach out and touch it.

If you have grown tired of the hustle and bustle of city life and you long for the peace and quiet of a life that is rewarding and a horizon expanding in full view, you cannot find a better place than the Green Kalahari. Once you have visited the Green Kalahari, you will understand why the Kalahari is such a mysterious and tantalizing holiday destination. Once visited, preconceived ideas of heat, dust and sand make way for a desire to remain, for people who come here usually come back to stay.  The Green Kalahari, home of the San people, invites you to a world of peace, tranquility and unique splendour that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.


Five highlights that should not be missed in the Green Kalahari.

Augrabies Falls
This is where the Orange River is at its most impressive as it thunders down a ravine and into a poor walled by sheer granite, creating the world's sixth largest waterfall.

To the north of the Augrabies Falls, with the Orange River in the south and the dry Molopo River in the north, lies a 75 000 hectares community run mountain desert wilderness and hot spring resort.

Red Dune Route
Find warm hospitality in a remote desert area as you follow a route that links a network of guest houses, farms and game reserves and enjoy the stories and traditional dishes like roosterkoek, nabbas, venison and melktert.

Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park
Visit a truly unspoilt ecosystem and wildlife sanctuary the  forms part of the largest conservation areas in the world.

Orange River Wine Cellars
A world of difference at the largest co-op wine cellers in the country. It is made up of wineries situated in Upington, Kakamas, Keimoes, Grootdrink and Groblershoop. Grape juice cellers operate from Kakamas, Kanoneiland and Grootdrink. The wine grapes originate from 794 producers along the Orange River, stretching over more than 300km from Groblershoop to Blouputs.

A visit to this region is not easily forgotten. The locals have a saying: "Once you drank from the water of the Orange River, you will always come back for more.

Upington has an airport and is linked to the South African Airways network with flights departing daily to Johannesburg and Cape Town. Excellent and not expensive bus connections to Upington from Cape Town and other cities are available through Intercape: Tel 021 3804400
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The Green Kalahari is where the arid zone comes alive, thanks to the vast Orange River that flows through this part of the Northern Cape. To the south, the river forms a natural boundary and to the north the landscape includes waves of dunes called streets that offer fabulous game viewing. Upington lies on the northern banks of the Orange River and is the Green Kalahari’s main town. It has the longest palm avenue in the southern hemisphere and is surrounded by plentiful vineyards that makes up more than 10% of the country’s total that produce great wines. Oranges, Lucerne, and cotton are also grown in the area.

Dried fruit, historic water tunnels hand-constructed by Cornish miners, a town consisting of 120 islands and the Augrabies Falls National Park, which has the sixth highest waterfall in the world are only some of the assests of this wonderland. Further north lie more towering canyons in the area of Riemvasmaak, which is run by the local community who offer a traditional experience and the use of a natural hot spring. One of the region’s most famous attractions is the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park , an awesome and mostly unspoilt ecosystem that spills into Botswana and offers 3.7million hectares of conservation area. It’s sanctuary to herds of endemic antelope, the famous black-maned Kalahari lions and numerous other species.

The Greenkalahari also has many salt pans, which, apart from producing salt, are utilised for an annual fly-in of light aircraft. This is a region of contrasts and contradictions with the arid zones and the green belt formed by the Orange River. Warm hospitality is found around every corner for those venturing off the beaten track, so be warned, you may plan to visit for only a few days, and end up staying a lot longer!
The Green Kalahari Region presents a truly unique and contrasting landscape of lush green vineyards along the mighty Orange River Valley shadowed by surrounding red sand dunes and black granite rock.

The Greenkalahari is fondly referred to as the land of contrasts and is sustained by the waters of the Orange River that flows through the region for centuries. It is a vast region that stretches from Danielskuil in the east to Riemvasmaak in the west and from Kenhardt in the south to the Kgalagadi Transfontier Park in the north.

Upington is the largest town in the region and the second largest town in the Northern Cape Province. It is the economic centre of the region with a vibrant and pulsating multi-cultural community. In 1884 the Orange River has been claimed by the colonialists and irrigation and development followed. The fertile soil along the Orange River gave life to communities that settled in towns all along the river in towns like Keimoes, Kakamas and Upington.

The region has two world renowned national parks.

In the west the river thunders down a gorge consisting of a series of granite cataract 56m high known as the Augrabies Falls National Park.

Towards the north lies the mighty Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Africa's first transfrontier park that covers almost 3.7 million hectres of sparsely vegetated red sand dunes and dry river beds. The park provides santuary to the magnificent gemsbok, springbok, blue wildebeest, red hartbees, eland, lion, leopard, cheetah and smaller game.

A land of contrast, with lush green vegetation and irrigation farms lines the awsome Orange River as it snakes through red sand dunes and black granite rock. It is the vast open landscape that attracts tourist tired of the concrete jungles of the big cities. In the tranquillity of this semi-desert region visitors can follow the sun by day and relax in the refreshing breeze of the peaceful nights in the open, or enjoy the unique cuisine of the region at one of the many restaurants.
The Augrabies falls derived their name from the Khoi word meaning ‘place of great noise’ which accurately describes the roar as the falls plummet 56m into the ravine. This arid piece of moonscape-like land, awesome and strikingly beautiful, offers the visitor over 15 000ha of unique riverine ecosystems to explore.
The leopard remains one of the shiest animals of the region.
The African lion is the true king of the wild with its magnificent beauty and awesome strength.
The typical kalahari dunes are within reach next to the Orange River valley and contrast sharpely with the lush green valleys of the Orange.
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The "Kokerboom" is found in the green kalahari and namaqualand regions.
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Gemsbok are found in large numbers in the region. they are majestic animals that is perfectly adapted for the climate.
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The mighty Orange River is surrounded by lush green fertile soil. It creates a valley of irrigated vineyards and is the lifeblood of the region.
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Northern Cape South Africa - Home of the Khoi San people
This page was last updated: July 27, 2014
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Upington Greenkalahari Northern Cape South Africa. Bound by the Orange River and the Kalahari, Upington is the principal city in the Northern Region, an ideal winter holiday resort with all the modern conveniences on the major routes to Namibia and Kalahari, Augrabies, Fish River Canyon and Northern Cape.
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