Rivers of the Northern Cape

The Northern Cape is South Africa’s largest province but has the smallest population, making it a vast, open and remote area of the country. It is famous for the Namaqualand flower spectacle that transforms the semi-desert landscape every spring, the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, the red sand dunes of the Kalahari Desert. The central area of the province is mostly flat with interspersed salt pans.

The province’s most important asset, however, is the mighty Orange River. The Orange, South Africa’s largest river draining the interior of the country westwards into the Atlantic Ocean, forms the border between the Northern Cape and the Free State and also between the Northern Cape and Namibia. The river feeds large agriculture and alluvial diamonds industries.

From a paddler’s point of view, the Orange river offers numerous sections of glorious paddling, most of which are multi-day affairs. The Vaal River, South Africa’s second largest river, flows into the Orange River not long after it crosses the Northern Cape border, but not before it goes through the surprisingly great section at Barkly West, which is also listed below.