Northern Cape is
one of nine provinces in South Africa. It was formed
after the first free elections in 1994 from the
northern part of the former Cape Province.
The Northern Cape is located on the north
western part of South Africa and is the largest
province. With an area of 361,830 km� it represents
30% of South Africa's land mass.
The population of the Northern Cape is 840,000,
representing 2% of the total South African
population is made up of a sizeable Coloured
component (435,000), followed by Blacks (279,000),
Whites (112,000) and people of Indian (2,300), Chinese and other
(12,000) extraction. Minor
cultural groups also occur in scattered settlements
throughout the province, mostly the Nama, San, Khoi,
Xu! and Khwe communities.
The language spoken by most is Afrikaans
followed by Setswana and
Although English is understood by many, it is the
first language of just 2.4% of the population.
The Northern Cape weather is typically that of
desert and semi-desert areas. During the summer
(December to February) temperatures usually reach
33-36�C, occasionally exceeding 40�C.
During winter (June to August) day
temperatures are mild (22�C), but at night
it can be cold (often below 0�C. In winter,
snow can often be seen on the mountains
surrounding Sutherland, one of the coldest
towns in Southern Africa.
The annual rainfall is never high
(50-400mm) and is often lower than the rate
of evaporation. The western parts of the
province, which include the
region and small sections of the Green
Kalahari, have their rainfall in the winter
These rains bring to life the
glorious displays of wildflowers that
decorate these regions from late August
until the end of September. The central and
eastern parts of the province get their rain
during the summer months and are often
accompanied by heavy thunderstorms.
The north is primarily savannah and includes the
Kalahari desert, characterised by parallel red
sand dunes and acacia trees.
The west coast is dominated by the
(Namaqualand), famous for its spring flowers.
This area is hilly to mountainous, consisting of
granites and other
dolerite rock formations.
The central areas are generally flat with
interspersed salt pans. In the east
Kimberlite intrusions punctuate the rocks,
giving the province its most notable natural
The city of Kimberley is perhaps most famous
for the "Big Hole" dug by hand in the late
1800s and early 1900s.
The Orange River flows through the province and
is joined by the Vaal River just west of
Kimberley. It goes on to form the
border with Namibia in the north west of the
province. This river
irrigates the many vineyards near
in the centre of the Northern Cape.
Kuruman, in the north-east of the
province is famous as a mission station
Robert Moffat and
also for "the eye" of Kuruman.