Located at an elevation of 2742 feet in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa, is the present town of Upington. Started as a mission station in 1875, this station was requested by a local chief to help stabilize the area after many years of warfare. In 1879, Sir Thomas Upington, the first Attorney-general of the Cape Colony came to the area to establish a police station outpost which used camels to patrol the huge desert area. Eventually, in 1884 both the mission station and police outpost combined to form the town of Upington. Reverend Christian Schroder, who ran the town, built the first buildings on the northern banks of the Orange River. With the abundance of immigrants, it became necessary to use the nearby river for irrigation. As a result, the first canals built in the area appeared ten years after the mission station was completed.
Now, over a century later Upington is a tourists dream with many an attractions available for visitors to enjoy. The building that originally contained the mission station now houses the town museum. Accommodation is made in this museum to display a donkey statue to honor the contribution the animal made to the regions development. The history and that of the local Khoikhoi people, as first mentioned in Rev. Edward Terry’s journal of 1615, are also exhibited within these walls. Among the amenities the town has to offer is a local coffee shop that provides local products while you enjoy scenic views of the Orange River. Another popular activity is a gentle sunset cruise down the river, in which you can enjoy the scenic views and a couple of drinks. If you prefer something different, accommodation is available for the adventurous type with lessons in flying a micro-light at the Micro light Training Centre, giving the stunning views of the Kalahari Desert while soaring through the skies. Accommodation is also made for the golf enthusiasts, and despite the abundance of golf courses here of superior quality, South Africa is still a well kept secret.
On a wider scale, Upington is the closest large center to Augrabies Falls, one of the great sites of beauty in South Africa. There are also a number of parks available in the reserve where everyone can enjoy the beauty of the terrain and the natural setting of the African animals that live in the area. About 13 km north of Upington is the Spitskop Nature Reserve, a small game reserve named after Upington’s granite koppie outside the town. Drive through the game reserve and see animals like the oryx, springbok, red hartebeest, eland and zebra. This drive, the many available hiking trails and even a hut for overnight stays allow for an enjoyable visit to the reserve.
Tour operators provide expeditions into the Kalahari and/or to Augrabies Falls to show the beauty and wonder of the area. There is accommodation for a visitor to the area in a number of guest houses that allow for a quiet and relaxing setting to use as a home base while exploring the wonders that the Upington area has to offer. Finally, Upington is the center of agriculture, education, and commerce for the Green Kalahari and Gordonia region. The rich soil of the Orange Rivers flood plains allow for export-quality grapes, raisins and wines, and wine tasting is available for wine connoisseurs.