Upington, South Africa

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Upington, South Africa

Region: Northern Cape

Geographic Coordinates: -28.457200, 21.242500
Temperature Range: 5.0°C to 40.0°C (41°F to 104°F)
Climate: Hot and dry climate with low rainfall, and temperatures ranging from 20-40°C throughout the year.
Population: 121189
Language: Afrikaans

Upington is a charming town located in the Northern Cape province of South Africa. It is situated on the banks of the Orange River, Which makes it an ideal destination for water sports enthusiasts. The town is named after Sir Thomas Upington, Who was the Attorney General and Prime Minister of Cape Colony during the late 19th century. One of the most popular attractions in Upington is its impressive vineyards that produce some of South Africa’s best wines. The area’s hot, Dry climate and fertile soil make it perfect for growing grapes.

Visitors can take a tour of one or more vineyards to learn about wine-making processes and sample some delicious wines. Another must-visit attraction in Upington is its national park – Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park – which spans across Botswana and South Africa. This park offers visitors an opportunity to see various wildlife species such as lions, Leopards, Cheetahs, Giraffes, Zebras and many more in their natural habitat.

For those interested in history and culture, There are several museums in Upington worth visiting such as Kalahari-Oranje Museum which showcases exhibits related to the region’s cultural heritage including San rock art paintings; Donkey Memorial which commemorates donkeys’ contribution to society; and Olive Schreiner House Museum dedicated to Olive Schreiner – one of South Africa’s most famous female writers.

The Orange River also offers plenty of activities for visitors including fishing trips where you can try your hand at catching yellowfish or catfish; river cruises where you can relax while taking in stunning views along with bird watching opportunities; canoeing or kayaking where you can paddle down river while enjoying nature at its finest. Upington also has a thriving food scene with plenty of restaurants serving up local cuisine such as braai (barbecue) dishes made from succulent meats like lamb chops or beef steak accompanied by pap (maize porridge), Chakalaka (spicy vegetable relish) and other sides.

There are also many cafes, Coffee shops and bakeries where you can enjoy a cup of coffee or tea along with fresh baked goods. Overall, Upington is a fascinating destination that offers visitors a unique blend of history, Culture, Nature and adventure. Whether you’re interested in wine-tasting, Wildlife watching or exploring the town’s museums and cultural attractions – there’s something for everyone here.

Important Landmarks

  1. Orange River Wine Cellars
  2. Kalahari Mall
  3. Bezalel Estate & Guest House
  4. Augrabies Falls National Park
  5. Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
  6. Desert Palace Casino Resort
  7. Spitskop Nature Reserve
  8. Upington Golf Club
  9. The African Fish Eagle Cafe and Gallery
  10. Die Eiland Holiday Resort

Primary Industries

  1. Agriculture: Upington is located in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa, which is known for its fertile soil and ideal climate for agriculture. The town has several farms that produce grapes, citrus fruits, and other crops.
  2. Mining: There are several mines in the surrounding areas of Upington that extract minerals such as diamonds, copper, and iron ore.
  3. Tourism: Upington is a popular destination for tourists due to its location on the banks of the Orange River and its proximity to attractions such as the Kalahari Desert and Augrabies Falls National Park.
  4. Retail: There are several shopping centers in Upington that offer a variety of goods and services to locals and tourists alike.
  5. Services: Upington has several service-based businesses such as healthcare facilities, law firms, accounting firms, real estate agencies, and more.

Noteable History

  1. The town was founded in 1870 and named after Sir Thomas Upington, the Attorney-General and then Prime Minister of the Cape Colony.
  2. During the Second Boer War (1899-1902), Upington was used as a British military base.
  3. In 1918, a severe flood devastated Upington and surrounding areas, killing over 100 people.
  4. Sol Plaatje lived in Upington for several years during his early career as a journalist. He was a prominent South African writer, activist and politician who played a key role in the founding of the African National Congress (ANC).
  5. The Orange River Irrigation Scheme transformed Upington into an important agricultural hub by bringing water from the Orange River to irrigate crops in an arid region around it.
  6. During apartheid-era South Africa (1948-1994), many black residents of Upington were forcibly relocated to segregated townships outside of town.
  7. In recent years, tourism has become an increasingly important industry for Upington thanks to its location on the banks of the Orange River and proximity to attractions like Augrabies Falls National Park and Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.

Museums and Things To See

  1. Kalahari-Oranje Museum
  2. Orange River Wine Cellars
  3. Augrabies Falls National Park
  4. Desert Palace Casino and Resort
  5. Bezalel Estate and Deli
  6. Spitskop Nature Reserve
  7. Upington Golf Club
  8. Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
  9. Pecanwood Manor Guesthouse & Conference Centre

Sports Teams

  1. Rugby: There are numerous local clubs that participate in regional and national tournaments, making rugby a favorite sport among locals.
  2. Soccer: Upington has several local teams competing at various levels, making soccer another popular sport in the region.
  3. Cricket: Several local clubs participate in regional tournaments, making cricket an enjoyable pastime for many residents.
  4. Netball: Netball is a beloved women’s sport played throughout South Africa, including Upington.
  5. Athletics: Track and field clubs operate within the region, attracting many individuals who enjoy athletics.

Overall, sports hold significant importance to those living in Upington – with many actively participating or supporting their favorite teams as fans or spectators.

Cultural Events

  1. Kalahari Kuierfees is a well-known festival held yearly in Upington that celebrates the local culture, food, and music of the Kalahari region.
  2. The Desert Festival is an event that commemorates the unique desert environment of Upington and features activities such as sandboarding, camel rides, and cultural performances.
  3. The Orange River Wine Festival is dedicated to celebrating Upington’s vineyards and wine production with tastings, live music, and food stalls.
  4. The Upington Show is an agricultural exhibition showcasing livestock exhibitions, farm produce displays, and other farming-related activities.
  5. The Boeremark Farmers Market takes place every Saturday morning in Upington’s town square offering fresh produce from local farmers as well as handmade crafts and artisanal products.
  6. The Richtersveld Wildrun is an annual trail running event that takes participants through the rugged terrain of the Richtersveld mountain range near Upington.
  7. Although not technically located in Upington (it takes about an hour’s drive away), the Namaqualand Flower Festival offers a must-see experience for anyone visiting during August or September when wildflowers bloom en masse across Namaqualand’s plains.


  1. Karoo Lamb: This is a popular local cuisine in Upington, South Africa. The lamb is slow-cooked and seasoned with herbs and spices.
  2. Biltong: Another popular local cuisine is biltong, which is dried meat that can be made from beef, game or ostrich.
  3. Kalahari Truffles: These truffles are a delicacy in Upington and are only available during the summer months.
  4. Die Pienk Padstal: This restaurant offers traditional South African dishes such as bobotie, potjiekos, and boerewors rolls.
  5. Platanna Restaurant: This restaurant specializes in seafood dishes such as prawns, calamari, fish curry and seafood platters.
  6. Desert Palace Hotel & Casino Resort: The resort has several restaurants that offer a variety of cuisines including Italian, Chinese and Indian.
  7. Bezalel Wine & Brandy Estate Restaurant: This restaurant offers fine dining experiences paired with their own wines and brandies produced on the estate.
  8. Orange River Cellars Wine Tasting Room & Restaurant: Visitors can enjoy wine tastings while dining on traditional South African meals at this restaurant located within a winery complex.
  9. Ouma se Kombuis (Grandma’s Kitchen): A small family-run eatery serving homemade meals like chicken pie or bobotie with rice or pap (maize porridge).
  10. Mokala Lodge Restaurant-This lodge serves an array of dishes ranging from breakfast to dinner including vegetarian options as well as some local specialties like braaivleis (barbecue) served with pap en sous (maize porridge served with tomato relish).

Parks and Recreation

  1. Kalahari-Oranje Museum: This museum provides a window into the history and culture of Upington and its neighboring regions.
  2. Upington Golf Club: A beautiful 18-hole golf course situated on the banks of the Orange River, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.
  3. Augrabies Falls National Park: Located just outside Upington, this park boasts one of South Africa’s most stunning waterfalls.
  4. Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park: Spanning across South Africa, Botswana, and Namibia, this park is home to a diverse array of wildlife including lions, cheetahs, giraffes, and more.
  5. Orange River Wine Cellars: Visitors can take a tour of this winery which produces some of South Africa’s finest wines.
  6. Spitskop Nature Reserve: This reserve offers hiking trails leading to awe-inspiring views over the city and surrounding landscape.
  7. Canal Walk Shopping Centre: The largest shopping center in Upington with over 100 stores including restaurants, cinemas & clothing stores.
  8. Desert Palace Casino Resort & Hotel: A popular entertainment destination in Upington featuring gaming facilities, hotel rooms, restaurants & bars.


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