Upington, Northern Cape, South Africa
Situated in the heart of the Northern Cape, this small town is not the most glamourous urban destination, but still very much worth a visit. It is the gateway to the Kalahari and is close to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and the Augrabies National Park, with its spectacular waterfall and adrenaline pumping river rafting. The Augrabies National Park is home to various wildlife, including Springbok, klipspringers, Eland, Giraffe and Black Rhino, as well as a prolific birdlife.
Upington developed from a missionary station, which was founded in 1871. Today this mission station houses the Kalahari Oranje Museum. Upington is tranquilly situated on the Gariep (Orange) River, and is the centre of South Africa's date growing industry. The longest avenue of date palms in the world is situated on an island in the river.
The Gariep River also supplies irrigation waters, sustaining the enormous green vineyards on the edge of the desert. When visiting Upington, don't forget your sunblock as this town is the hottest town in South Africa, with an average summer temperature of over 40 degrees Celsius.
Access to Upington is via a small airport, with scheduled flights and from Cape Town and Johannesburg. This town is quite remote, and situated about 800 kilometres from Cape Town via the N7 and N14, and 400 kilometres from Kimberley via the N8 and N10.