The Green Kalahari is a region of the Northern Cape that is full of wonders. A land of contrasts, where valleys of lush green vineyards follow the mighty Orange River through the surrounding red sands and black granite rock. The Roaring Sands site on the farm Doornaar near Groblershoop is a popular tourist attraction. Its high sand dunes, surrounded by typically red Kalahari dunes, are said to “roar” when the wind blows.

Along the hand-built irrigation canals at Kakamas 11 waterwheels are still used. Kanoneiland is a settlement on the biggest island in the Orange River. At Keimoes, the Orange River flows at its widest.

The Tierberg Nature Reserve offers spectacular views of the Keimoes Valley and the many islands in the Orange River. The original irrigation canal system is still in use. The Orange River Wine Cellar’s largest cellar is situated here.

Vast tracts of bleak, shimmering semidesert contrast dramatically with lush green vineyards filling the Orange River’s fertile valleys. The massive body of water meanders through a giant valley of its making, being at its most impressive at the Augrabies Falls National Park, where the deafening fury of a huge torrent of angry water plummeting 56m down a series of granite cataracts speaks volumes for the river’s awesome power. By 1884, the river had been claimed by colonialists, and irrigation and development followed.

Kenhardt is the oldest town in the Lower Orange River area. The Quiver Tree Forest and Kokerboom Hiking Trail, consisting of between 4 000 and 5 000 quiver trees, are within easy driving distance of the town.

Upington is the commercial, educational and social centre of the Green Kalahari, owing its prosperity to agriculture and its irrigated lands along the Orange River. A camel-and-rider statue in front of the town’s police station pays tribute to the “mounties,” who patrolled the harsh desert territory on camels.

Kalahari Desert Speedweek, is an annual eight-day speed festival held in a far north-western corner of South Africa where tumbleweeds can roam for days nonstop and the dried-up lake beds are tailor-made for top-speed exploration. It is a proper run-what-you-brung motorsport event where anybody is welcome to enter, and anything with an engine is eligible. Over the years, the event has also become a meeting place for all sorts of eccentric machinery and people. Expect anything from 1940s-vintage Nash sedans limping along in period-correct warbird liveries to finely tuned Italian exotics humming at breakneck speeds, billowing dust clouds in tow.

The Orange River displays its impressive power at the Augrabies Falls in the Augrabies Falls National Park. Visitors can hire canoes to ensure closer contact with the natural heritage surrounding the world’s sixth-largest waterfall.

The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park comprises 37 000 m2 of land, making it one of the largest conservation areas in the world. Straddling the Green Kalahari and Botswana, the park is a two-million-hectare sanctuary for various raptors, antelope, gemsbok, springbok, blue wildebeest, red hartebeest, eland, Kalahari lion, black-maned lion, brown and spotted hyena, leopard, cheetah, and smaller game, including mongoose, porcupine and the endangered honey badger. Where the red dunes and scrub fade into infinity and herds of gemsbok, springbok, eland and blue wildebeest follow the seasons, where imposing camel thorn trees provide shade for huge black-mane lions and vantage points for leopard and many raptors… this is the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.

Today, you can travel peacefully from wine cellars to tearooms in the desert; from a luxurious lodge to the desolation of Verneukpan. Yet, not all is tamed.

Cities and Towns in Green Kalahari Region

Other sources quote ‘Koup’ and ‘Tlakalatlou’ (seTswana for ‘elephant’s reed’) as its name. The name, ‘Daniel’s Den’ was first found in documents by the missionary, Campbell, in 1820. The name derives from a…MORE

The small town of Augrabies and Marshand lie on the banks of the Orange River and are surrounded by lush green vineyards. The towns are mostly populated by workers on…MORE

The town has very strong Dutch Reformed roots, the congregations at Kuruman, Kathu and Olifantshoek having seceded from the original congregation in Dibeng. MORE

Founded in 1936 and named after a former Minister of Agriculture, Groblershoop is a farming and administrative centre in the Orange River Valley, east of Upington. MORE

Set on a bush-covered, featureless plain, Hotazel is home to Samancor’s Mamatwan open-quarry manganese ore mine and sinter plant, and Wessels underground manganese ore mine and railway terminus. It o…

To some, the town’s name originates from the Khoi word, ‘gagamas’ (brown), referring to the red clay of the area with which women daub their faces. To most, though, Kakam…

The town is a settlement on the biggest island in the lower Orange River region. Virtually every inch of soil is under irrigation. Enjoy driving between the many vineyards, a…

And nothing can prevent the visitor being overawed by the sheer size of one of the world’s largest open-cast iron mines, dwarfing giant ore trucks bearing up to 170 tons o…

The town is a settlement on the biggest island in the lower Orange River region. Virtually every inch of soil is under irrigation. Enjoy driving between the many vineyards, a…

On 27 December 1868, special magistrate Maximillian Jackson, with a police contingent, was sent to act as a bulwark against the Koranna, whose anti-colonial resistance had erupted into open conflict. Jackson arrived…

On the Ghaap Plateau 1 131m above sea level, Kuruman is the principal town on the Kalahari section of the Namakwari Route. The origin of the town’s name is uncertain b…

A pristine southern Kalahari wilderness area with dunes averaging 35m in height – breathtaking scenery you’ll never forget. The municipal area of Mier includes the communities of Rietfontein, Philandersbron, L…

The only town lying at the foot of the Langeberg, Olifantshoek is a farming town close to two game ranches on the Namakwari Route. Founded in 1895, the village is called…

Proclaimed a town on 6 June 1892 and named after the Rev J Postma, a Reformed Church founding member whose congregation sought a centre of worship. The town is complemented by a…

The most prosperous game ranches, especially for trophy hunters or holidaymakers, are in the immediate area. And, for biltong lovers, this is paradise.

This pricipal Town of the Green Kalahari is 820km north of Cape Town and 875km west of Johannesburg. By uniting Christian Schröder’s 1871 mission station, Olyfenhoutsdrift and the Upington po…MORE

Experience – Green Kalahari

Green Kalahari
• Riemvasmaak Hot Springs
• Red Dune Route
• Orange River Wine Cellar
• Date Palm Avenue
• SA Dried Fruit Co-operative
• Operating Waterwheels
• Quiver Tree Forest
• San Culture
• Verneukpan
• Hakskeenpan

Wine Tour at Orange River Wine Cellars Upington, Green Kalahari; +27 (0)54 337-8800
The co-operative consists of five wineries situated in Upington, Kakamas, Keimoes, Grootdrink and Groblershoop. Grape juice cellars operate from Kanoneiland, Kakamas and Grootdrink. The wine grapes of the Oranjerivier Wine Cellars are harvested from 794 producers along the Orange River, which stretch over more than 300km from Groblershoop to Blouputs. The cellars offer an extensive range of award-winning wines from dry white, natural sweet and dry red as well as dessert wines.

Activities in the area include:

  • camel back trips
  • white water rafting
  • parasailing
  • hiking
  • canoeing
  • mountain biking
  • bird watching
  • game drives in the national and many exquisite private game reserves
  • The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Africa’s first transfrontier park
  • The San people have left behind many unique attractions detailing their lives and hunting antics. These include the remains of permanent settlements on the farm Bitterputs in the Verneuk Pan near the town Kenhardt as well as many fascinating cave drawings and engravings.


The lure of the Northern Cape is definitely its natural attractions, which include the annual Namaqualand wildflower display in spring (late August/September), the spectacular Augrabies Falls and the winding oasis that is the Green Kalahari. Further north is the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, home to the magnificent Kalahari lion.

30 Swartmodder Avene, Upington
Private Bag X6039, Upington 8800
Tel: +27 54 337 2800
Fax: +27 54 337 2800