In assocciation with Kalahari Wildlife Tours

Tour 24: 14 Day Best of the Northern Cape Tour

This tour covers 2 Trans Frontier Parks, 3 National Parks and 8 Reserves/conservation areas

MALARIA FREE AREA!

14 Days
13 Nights

DAY 01 Kimberley (South Africa)
DAY 02 Mokala National Park
DAY 03 Mokala National Park
DAY 04 Witsand Nature Reserve
DAY 05 Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park / Twee Rivieren
DAY 06 Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park / One of the camps
DAY 07 Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park / Mata Mata
DAY 08 Ai-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park (Namibia)
DAY 09 Ai-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park (South Africa)
DAY 10 Ai-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park
DAY 11 Diamond Coast
DAY 12 Namaqua National park
DAY 13 Augrabies Falls National Park
DAY 14 Upington – Departure

DETAILED ITINERARY

This comprehensive tour of the Northern Cape Province include all the major attractions in the Province as well as the Fish River Canyon in Southern Namibia. History, wildlife, landscapes, flora, geology and culture is combined in this potpourri of attractions. The Richtersveld in South Africa on can only be explored in a 4x4 vehicle.

DAY 01 Kimberley

Arrive at Kimberley Airport. Visit the Big Hole and recently renovated Kimberley Mine Museum. The Big Hole is the largest hand-dug excavation in the world and the Mine Museum takes one back to a diamond-digging era more than a hundred years ago. Visit Kampher’s Dam where the largest flock of lesser flamingoes in Southern Africa, numbering 25 000, are residents.

Other visits can include the McGregor Museum, where you can enjoy the display of origin of mankind and where arte facts from the Wonderwerk Cave are housed and the William Humphreys Art Gallery, the only grade 1 art gallery in South Africa. 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 & D

DAY 02 Kimberley – Mokala National Park

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

Mokala National Park is South Africa’s newest park and is situated 80 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 include sunset drive and bush braai (BBQ), Vulture drive, San rock art drive and endangered species drive.
Overnight: One of the camps in Mokala
Meals: B & D

DAY 03 Mokala National Park

Game drives in Mokala
Overnight: One of the camps in Mokala
Meals: B & D

DAY 04 Mokala – Witsand Nature Reserve

Depart to Witsand Nature Reserve. Wine tasting en route 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,hese dunes utter an eerie 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/or hike. The reserve can be explored on mountain bikes too. Sand boarding down the dunes for the young. Bikes and sand boards to rent at reception. Dinner is a traditional “braai”.
Overnight: Witsand
Meals: B & D

DAY 05 Witsand – Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Depart via the lush green Orange River Valley and Upington to the largest camp in Kgalagadi Trans Frontier Park, Twee Rivieren. Afternoon game drive in this 37 000 square km park, which is one of the largest conservation areas in the world and one of the last truly unspoilt ecosystems.

Endemic 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.

The Park 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.

Optional 3 hr sunset drive and 3 hr morning guided walk (if available) @ R145-00 & R250-00 pp

Overnight: Twee Rivieren
Meals: B & D

DAY 06 Kgalagadi Trans Frontier Park

Game drives. The route will be determined by rainfall and game migration.
Optional 3 hr sunset drive and 3 hr morning guided walk (if available) @ R145-00 & R250-00 pp
Overnight: One of the camps in the Park
Meals: B & D

DAY 07 Kgalagadi – Klipkolk Guest Lodge

Game drive to Twee Rivieren. Depart to Klipkolk Lodge. En route we stop at the last indigenous San tribe in South Africa, the Khomani. Today these earliest residents of the Kalahari, living here for 40 000 years, consist of only 400 people and are resident in an area between 40 and 70 km south of Twee Rivieren. Clients will have the opportunity to view and purchase their handcraft at one of the roadside stalls. Continue through the Mier area. The Mier people inhabit the area since the 1830’s. We travel through the small villages Klein Mier, Groot Mier and Philandersbron to Klipkolk. En route one has a beautiful view over the 14 000 ha Hakskeen Pan, also known as Oxford Pan. The road to Philandersbron crosses 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, Hendrik and Gertruida Bott are caterers of note and specialize in local cuisine.

Overnight: Klipkolk Lodge
Meals: B & D

DAY 08 Klipkolk – Ai-Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park

Depart to Rietfontein Border Post. Enter Namibia. Proceed 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.

Some of the 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 27 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’.

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 lies at the southern end of the Fish River Canyon. Relax in the warm pools and spa.

Overnight: Ai-Ais Resort or Canon Lodge.
Meals: B & D

DAY 09 Ais-Ais – Richtersveld Transfrontier Park

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 & D

DAY 10 Ais-Ais – Richtersveld Transfrontier Park

Explore the Park on drives and on foot.
Overnight: One of the camps in the Park
Meals: B & D

DAY 11 Richtersveld – Diamond Coast

The Northern Cape West Coast, known as the Diamond Coast, stretches from the Orange River mouth southwards 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 4x4 trails, excellent bird life, rough coastline with unspoiled beaches, spring flowers in season, mild summers and a seafood delicacy, crayfish.

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. This is crayfish and diamond country. Visit the harbour with its diamond boats.

Continue to Kleinzee. Enter the secretive, previously restricted diamond area owned by The Beers. Time at leisure for e.g. a coastline walk. The accommodation is situated on the shoreline. Whales are very often seen close to the shoreline.

Overnight: Noup Diamond Divers’ Camp or camping at Koingnaas Caravan Park
Meals: B & D

DAY 12 Diamond Coast – Namaqua National Park.

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.

Continue 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 & D

DAY 13 Namaqua National Park – Augrabies Falls National Park

Depart to Springbok, the main town of Namaqualand. No visit to Springbok is completed without visiting 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 Mr Jopie Kotze is on display too.

Continue to Augrabies Falls National Park through the vast 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 drive in this moon landscape-like land to awesome viewpoints such as Ararat, Oranjekom on the Orange River Gorge and the “Swartrante” (Black hills) from where one has a great view of this arid rocky desert landscape.

Although Augrabies is essentially 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.

Optional 2 hr sunset drive (if available) @ R100 per person.
Overnight: Augrabies
Meals: B & D

DAY 14 Augrabies – Upington

Today’s activities will depend on the departure time of the clients’ flight(s) from Upington.

We can go on a relaxed 2km morning walk to a beautiful viewpoint on the Augrabies gorge, Arrow Point or do a scenic drive in the park. Optional activities include the 4 hr Augrabies 3-in-1 Adventure, consisting of canoeing, hiking & mountain biking in the park at R180-00 per person or 2 – 3 hour river rafting outside the park at R 250 – 00 per person.

Depart to Upington. Stop for wine tasting at Kakamas at the second largest cooperative wine cellar in the world, the Orange River Wine Cellar. Continue to Upington passing the Persian Water Wheels in Kakamas. Proceed to Keimoes on the Rockery Route, a scenic gravel road south of the Orange River, passing through a large quiver tree forest. We visit Tierberg Nature Reserve in Keimoes, from where one has a beautiful view of the lush green Orange River Valley. Our last visit is at the largest inhabited inland island in South Africa, Kanoneiland, where virtually every inch of soil is under irrigation. Arrive in Upington during the afternoon. End of tour.

Accommodation can vary from the itinerary depending on availability.

Rates on request:
E-mail: dantes@kalahari-tours.co.za or click on CONTACT US.

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