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 Parks and Reserves Northern Cape, South Africa

Parks and Reserves

Ai Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park

In 2003 South Africa and Namibia signed a treaty to form the Transfrontier Park. It was formed by combining Richtersveld Transfrontier Parkthe Richtersveld National Park in South Africa with the Ai-Ais Hot Springs Game Park in Namibia. It also includes the Fish River Canyon Park. It is home to 30% of South Africa’s succulent plant species, some of which are not found anywhere else. It is also one of the driest areas in South Africa, receiving only 50mm of rain annually.

Despite these harsh conditions the Park is also home to Leopards, Rock Hyrax, Lizards, Ground Squirrel and various bird species. Most of the moisture that sustains the Park comes in as morning fog that rolls in from the Atlantic Ocean, The local people call the fog ‘Ihuries’ or ‘Malmokkies’.

Things to do:

Guided walks – courtesy of SanParks

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Augrabies Falls National Park

This is where visitor can see the sixth largest waterfall in the world fed by the Orange River. Augrabies is the Khoi name for ‘Place of great noise’ which is exactly what it sounds like near the Falls as the water rushes 56m (183 feet) into a ravine.

Augrabies Falls

Augrabies Falls, Northern Cape

Things to do:
Apart from the magnificent Falls there area also:

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Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park was formed by combining South Africa’s Kalahari Gemsbok Park and Botswana’s Gemsbok National Park, making it a 3.7 million hectare conservation area. It is home to lion, leopard, cheetah, gemsbok, eland, other antelope and smaller mammals, reptiles and birds.

Wildlife - Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Northern Cape


A passport is not required to cross the border within the park whether from Botswana to South Africa or in the opposite direction as long as the visitor enters and exits the park at the same gate in the same country.

Things to do:

Goegap Nature Reserve

The 7,000ha reserve lies east of the town of Springbok and includes 600 different indigenous plant species, 45 mammals and 94 bird species. It is also home to the Hester Malan Wild Flower Garden with its Namakwa succulents and a rock garden.

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Namaqua National Park

The winter rains prime the arid soil for spring and when it arrives it brings with it a rainbow of wild flowers that fill the landscape with color. The transformation usually starts in July and lasts through September. Namaqualand is rich in bulb flora and is home to 3,500 different plant species; with over a 1,000 of these found nowhere else in the world. The Park is in one of only ‘2 arid biodiversity hotspots’ in the world. To add to the wonder it is also home to the smallest tortoise in the world called the Namaqua Speckled Padloper.

Namqua Spring Flowers, Northern Cape

Namaqualand (Namakwa) Spring Flowers, Northern Cape

Oorlogskloof Nature Reserve

The Oorlogskloof Nature Reserve lies 10km (6 miles) south of town and is essentially a deep ravine cut by the Oorlogskloof River. It offers visitors and hikers 5577 ha to explore. There are two 50km (31 mile), four day hikes and two one-day walks. Many rare birds are found in the Reserve such as the Booted Eagles and Black Storks.

Spitskop Nature Reserve

It is a little game reserve just north of Upington, home to a variety of antelope

Tankwa Karoo National Park

This is a new and developing park, to be expanded to a 80,000ha conservation area. It was proclaimed in 1986.

Tswalu Desert Reserve

Tswalu is a private 100,000 ha reserve, surrounded by the Koranneberg Mountains located in the Kalahari Desert.

Thuru Game Reserve

Thuru is located near Groblershoop in the Kalahari and is best known for its unique vegetation.

Mokala National Park

Located just south of Kimberly, it is the newest National Park in the country, proclaimed in June 2007. Its name Mokala is the Tswana word for Camel Thorn Tree, found all over the Park. Visitors can expect to see Black and White Rhino in the Park as well as a variety of antelope.

Things to do:
Plans are in place to offer mountain biking, day walks, horse trails and game drives (sunset and day drives).

Rock art is found on the conservancy and excursions are planned for these.

The park also plans to take full advantage of the clear night skies to offer star-gazing as a night time activity, along with wildlife documentary DVD shows. Rock art painting and engraving excursions, and guided horse trails will also be introduced.

Witsand Nature Reserve

The main attraction to this reserve is the 20 to 60 m (i.e. 65 to 200 feet) high white sand dunes adjacent to the brick red Kalahari sand. It is where visitors can witness the Brulsand (Roaring Sand) of the Kalahari. If disturbed by the wind or by man the sand dunes make a mysterious roaring sound. This is more prevalent in the drier hotter months from September to April.

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