Upington is the principal town of the Green Kalahari. Upington is a town founded in 1884 and located in the Northern Cape province of South Africa, on the banks of the Orange River. 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.

Province: Northern Cape
Population: 74 834 (2011)


Upington has an airport and a landing strip. This town plays a very prominent role in the lives of the residents of this local municipality. Upington was established in the 1870s when the Reverend Christiaan Schroder was sent from Cape Town to establish a mission at the request of the Hottentots chieftain Klaas Lucas, who realized the importance of being able to read and write. Shortly after the establishment of the Mission, various pioneer settlers including Japie Lutz and the Reverend Schroder realized that the area was ideal for irrigation development and the first irrigation canals were hand-dug in 1880 – some of which are still in use today. Since then, Upington grew rapidly today, Upington is the Provincial Capital for the Northern Cape Province and as such has taken on a new and important role in the development of the whole region. Upington was originally known as Olijvenhoutsdrift, named after the mission station on which it was established. it was renamed in 1884 to Upington after Sir Thomas Upington (1844-98), Attorney-General and then Prime Minister of the Cape. He visited the town in 1884.

Upington is part of the //Khara Hais Local Municipality which is a Category B municipality and is located in the Siyanda District Municipality, which is the second-largest district in the Northern Cape. It is the acknowledged commercial, educational, military, agricultural, medical, transport and tourist center of the area. The unusual spelling of the name of the local municipality, with the // glyph, is a result of the transcription of the click consonant used in the Kxoe language from which the name originates.

The municipality straddles the Orange River. The main towns in this area are Upington, Raaswater, Louisvale, Kalksloot, Leerkrans, Karos and Lambrechtsdrift. Upington is the central town situated 400km west of Kimberley.

Upington enjoys a summer rainfall and a hot climate, which makes it an ideal winter holiday destination with excellent facilities. Linked by air and road to most parts of the country, the town is accessible, offers excellent accommodation and has a well-developed commercial infrastructure. Located on the Kalahari-Namaqua-Namibia (Namakwari) route to and from Johannesburg and Cape Town, it is a convenient stop-over for travellers to the Augrabies Falls National Park, the Fish River Canyon, the Namaqualand flowers and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.

Also take a trip back in time with a tour through the home of the Reverend Schröder, which is still perfectly preserved. The economy relies on tourism, the service industry and agriculture, where significant volumes of produce are exported to Europe. Many companies have also established their head offices in Upington. There is a wide range of shops in Upington, where one is able to purchase most – if not all – of ones requirements.
All of the main roads and streets are tarred and Upington is linked to all major South African cities by air, rail and road. The airport has the longest tarred runway in the southern hemisphere measuring 4 900 m; there are three other runways with 6 landing directions. Making it very convenient for visitors, most of the banks are also able to assist with foreign exchange and travellers cheques.

One will also cross the mighty Orange River, one of the largest rivers in South Africa and one which provides a bloodline for this predominantly arid region. The river creates a virtual oasis along its banks and contributes to the vibrant agricultural community of the region. Ten percent of the country’s vineyards are located in the Upington region, which is also home to the award-winning Orange River Wine Cellars.

There are also complete medical and healthcare services provided by two hospitals and a number of clinics. Excellent educational facilities are available with the Northern Cape Technicon being situated here, as well as various secondary, primary and preparatory schools. The suburbs are incredibly picturesque with an array of tastes and styles in gardening and homes to be found.

Upington Solar Park

The Upington Solar Park is a National Government initiative in the Northern Cape Province. It should create a significant number of construction and manufacturing jobs, which would not only benefit the Northern Cape, but also extend beyond the province.

The project proposes to build a mega solar park near Upington, at the edge of the Kalahari desert, where it is envisaged that a total 5 000 MW of renewable energy could be produced.

Sakkie se Arkie

Families & kids welcome! Fun & relaxation. The call of the fish eagle combined with breath taking Orange River sunsets.

Click Here to make a booking or enquiry.

Enjoy 1½ hours of fantastic birding, total relaxation, good company, good music and soak up the Kalahari sun whilst drifting along the magnificent Orange River. Snacks and alcoholic beverages will be available during the cruise to people above the age of 18 years at our on-board, fully licensed bar. Situated on the banks of the Orange River in town it makes it the ideal spot to escape the hustle and bustle of town and to enjoy the relaxing and thrilling potential of the Orange River.

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park


Wildlife preserve
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is a vast wildlife preserve in the Kalahari Desert region of Botswana and South Africa, bordering Namibia to the west. It’s characterized by red dunes and dry rivers. Wildlife includes migrating herds of wildebeest and springbok, plus predators like raptors and black-maned Kalahari lions. Various lodges and wildnerness camps offer game-viewing drives and guided walks with park rangers.
Address: R360, Upington, 8800
Area: 14,672 mi²
Established: July 31, 1931
Phone: 054 561 2000

Return to Northern Cape Town/Cities. Visit the Northern cape Tourism page.

Key Statistics 2011

Total population 57,220
Young (0-14) 28,8%
Working Age (15-64) 65,2%
Elderly (65+) 6%
Dependency ratio 53,5
Sex ratio 95,9
Population density 99 persons/km2
No schooling aged 20+ 4,4%
Higher education aged 20+ 10,3%
Matric aged 20+ 29,7%
Number of households 13,828
Average household size 4
Female headed households 42,3%
Formal dwellings 83,9%
Housing owned/paying off 57,6%
Flush toilet connected to sewerage 83,2%
Weekly refuse removal 96,3%
Piped water inside dwelling 71,7%
Electricity for lighting 94%

Accommodation in Upington

Schröderhuis Guesthouse
Schröderhuis Guesthouse
Affordable for everyone 2 BEDROOM Cater 1 - 4 People Coffee & Tea Facilities Bar Fridge & Microwave Ensuite Bathroom Private Entrance FAMILY ROOM Cater…
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