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Northern Cape

Climate of the Northern Cape Province

The Northern Cape is the largest province in South Africa and it shares its border with Namibia. A portion of the Kalahari Desert falls into this province and the areas skirting the desert are either arid or semi-arid. Most parts of the province receive under 400mm of rainfall each year and the climate in the Northern Cape is mostly hot and dry. However, this does not mean that everything in the Northern Cape is sand and sun. The province is large and there is plenty of room for diversity – especially in the western regions of the Northern Cape.

If you’re looking for beauty in the Northern Cape, it is usually best to head to the western regions of the province. Places such as Namaqualand, the Green Kalahari, Calvinia, Nieuwoudville and Loeriesfontein enjoy a high concentration of winter rains and an explosive burst shortly afterwards. The Namaqualand is already famous for its many beautiful daisies which erupt from the earth’s scorched surface once a year in a celebration of life and color. Namaqualand is not the only area in the Northern Cape which enjoys a high rainfall between April and September and it is also not the only place to enjoy good growth at certain times of the year. If you visit any of these areas between July and October you will find them alive with new growth.

As you move further east, the heavy rainfall dries up somewhat and takes the form of early evening thunderstorms, which are a regular feature of the late summer months. These are somewhat more dramatic than anywhere else in the country as the wide semi-arid plains are often hit by bolts of lightening as they replenish the soil’s nutrients. The climate in the eastern parts of the Northern Cape is by far the hottest and most extreme in Southern Africa. The highest temperatures can be found along the Namibian border and summer temperatures can soar higher than 40º C in extreme cases. The highest temperature ever recorded was 47.8º C which was recorded in 1939 at the Orange River. In winter the weather conditions make a complete turn-around with frosty, cool to cold weather. Temperatures in the southern parts of the country can drop as low as –10º C and snow often falls here.