Photos of Northern Cape, South Africa’s largest and most sparsely populated province

Northern Cape Province Arms
Images of the World
Flag of South Africa

Northern Cape, South Africa’s largest and most sparsely populated province

Created in 1994 from the northwestern part of the giant Cape Province, the Northern Cape is dominated by the Karoo Basin with a mostly arid to semi-arid climate. Its capital is Kimberley, known for its 19th-century diamond mines that made a fortune for Cecil Rhodes, who established the De Beers diamond company in 1888. Kuruman is 236 kilometres by road via Danielskuil through an arid landscape and is known as Oasis of the Kalahari due to the Eye of Kuruman: a spring bringing water from deep down. Robert Moffat, a missionary from the London Missionary Society, built his church here; it was completed in 1838.

Between Hanover and Richmond
Mining tower, Kimberley
Boys of Danielskuil
Man of Danielskuil
Shops, Danielskuil
Windmills near Wonderwerk Cave
Moffat Mission Station
Eye of Kuruman
Evening sky near Olifantshoek
Cannibalist Desert Grasshoppers
Men in Upington
Men in Upington
San man
Settlement near Upington
Huts in Ses Brugge
Huts in Ses Brugge
Orange river in Keimoes
Boys of Kakamas
Orange river, Aughrabies Falls
Aughrabies Falls
Aughrabies Falls
Alpina Vries
Children of Aughrabies
Children of Aughrabies
Children of Aughrabies
Boys along the road
Between Kakamas and Keimoes
Girls and boy, Keimoes
Between Grondneus and Swartmodder
View to Noenieput
Sociable weaver bird nest
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
Struis se Dam
Impala, Kalahari Gemsbok NP
Gemsbok, Kalahari Gemsbok NP
Impala, Kalahari Gemsbok NP
Gnu, Kalahari Gemsbok NP
Impala and gemsbok, Kalahari Gemsbok NP
Ostriches, Kalahari Gemsbok NP
Orange River at Vioolsdrif
View to Steinkopf
Shop in Steinkopf
Huts in Steinkopf
Hotel and shop, Springbok
Hotel and shop, Springbok
Road, Namaqualand
View to Garies

In the far northwest is the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park, part of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park that is shared with Botswana. The spectacular Augrabies Falls on the Orange River is south of there, a National Park. Its name comes from the Khoikhoi (Khoekhoe) people who named it Ankoerebis, ‘place of great noise’. The region along the west coast, extending into Namibia, is known as Namaqualand and refers to the land of the Nama, the largest group of Khoi people, who traditionally speak their language with its distinct “clicks”.

About 68% of the population speak Afrikaans as their first language, the highest of any South African province. The majority of people could be classified, in the apartheid days, as Coloured. Setswana speakers make up 33% of the population, and some people self-identify as San (formerly called Bushmen), who still may retain their languages, but no longer live from hunting. The provincial motto is “Sa kǁʔa: ǃaīsi ʔuīsi” (‘Strive for a better life’); it is in the Nǀu or !Auni language, a now extinct Khoisan language of the Nǁnǂe or ǂKhomani San people. One of the last people who could speak it was the late Ms Elsie Vaalbooi of Rietfontein, who gave the phrase in 1997.