Due to the wide array of activities and tourism attractions in the province, the Northern Cape as a tourism destination appeals to multiple segments ranging from mature travellers to families, young adventurers and adrenaline junkies, while it is also becoming increasingly popular as a business travel destination, said CEO of the Northern Cape Tourism Authority, Sharron Lewis, at the closing of the Tourism Indaba which was held from the 10th to the 12th of May 2014 in Durban at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre. The annual Tourism Indaba was attended by nearly 10,000 visitors and more than 1,600 exhibitors.
The Northern Cape Province pulled out all the stops to wow visitors to Africa’s leading travel trade show in Durban. This year the province showcased not only their exceptional leisure tourism opportunities, but also their burgeoning incentive travel portfolio.
According to Lewis, the Northern Cape is in a unique position to appeal to both the leisure and business market segments. “For the past six years the Northern Cape has been positioned according to its brand pillars. These include that of real nature, real adventure and real culture.” Said Lewis.
In keeping with the Sho’t Left campaign launched by South Africa Tourism, the Northern Cape has developed several self-drive routes. These explore the off –beaten track destinations of rural villages and small towns that capture the essence of the province. Many of these routes were presented on the Northern Cape Stand during the Indaba to give visitors a sneak preview into the heart of the Northern Cape. Each of the five tourism regions in the province showcased their individual offerings. Several provincial nature reserves revealed the incredible natural beauty of the province. Visitors to the stand also sampled the amazing wines form the Orange River Cellars.
There are an estimated 5400 species in the Northern Cape. They occur in six large biomes, namely the Nama Karoo Biome, Succulent Karoo Biome, Savanna Biome, grassland Biome, Fynbos Biome and Desert Biome. More than 30% of the plants found in the province are endemic.
The Richtersveld, which is one of the three routes being promoted, appears to be a lonely, harsh and arid lunar landscape of various shades devoid of plant life. On closer inspection, especially during winter, it is full of colour as the flowers display their splendour. Growing between pebbles or in rock crevices the highly specialised plats survive and evolve in their own niches.
The second route, the green Kalahari, is a vast track of bleak, shimmering semi-desert contrast dramatically with lush green vineyards filling the Orange River’s fertile valleys.
Lewis said the people of the Northern Cape lie at the heart of its appeal to visitors. “Its proud history and cultural diversity are combined in the open-hearted hospitality of its people.” Its rich archaeological heritage traces ancient tribes like the San, Nama, Griqua and pays homage to its diverse history. Some of the country’s premier rock art sites with more than 400 rock engravings are located between Kimberley and Barkly West.
The history of this region is deeply rooted in its mining tradition. Museums and memorials provide visitors with the opportunity to explore in the footsteps of explorers of yesteryear. Representatives from the Business Tourism Unit and the Northern Cape’s department of economic development and tourism were available at the stand to discuss incentive travel opportunities within the Northern Cape.