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Upington Tourist Information
At an elevation of 2742 feet in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa, stands the present day 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 war. In 1879, Sir Thomas Upington, the first Attorney General of the Cape Colony came to the area to establish a police station outpost that used camels to patrol the vast desert area. Eventually, in 1884 both the mission station and the police station were amalgamated to form the town of Upington. Reverend Christian Schroder, who ruled 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 adjacent river for irrigation. As a result, the first canals built in the area appeared ten years after the completion of the sending station.
Now, over a century later, Upington is a tourist’s dream with many attractions available for visitors. The building that originally housed the mission station now houses the city’s museum. This museum houses a statue of a donkey to commemorate the animal’s contribution to the development of the region. The story and history of the local Khoikhoi, as first reported in Reve’s journal. Edward Terry of 1615, are also exhibited within these walls. Among the amenities the town has to offer is a local cafe offering local produce while enjoying scenic views of the Orange River. Another popular activity is a gentle sunset cruise down the river, where you can enjoy the scenic views and a few drinks. If you prefer something different, accommodation is available for the adventurous type with microlight flying lessons at the Microlight Training Centre, offering stunning views of the Kalahari Desert as you soar through the skies. Accommodation is also made for golf enthusiasts, and despite the abundance of top quality golf courses here, South Africa is still a well-kept secret.
On a wider scale, Upington is the nearest major center to the Augrabies Falls, one of the great beauty attractions 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 habitat of the African animals that live in the area. About 13 km north of Upington is Spitskop Nature Reserve, a small game reserve named after the granite koppie of Upington outside the town. Drive through the game reserve and see animals such as oryx, springbok, redbuck, eland and zebra. This route, the many hiking trails available and even an overnight hut make for an enjoyable visit to the refuge.
Tour operators provide expeditions to Kalahari Falls and/or Augrabies Falls to showcase the beauty and wonders of the area. There is accommodation for a visitor to the area in a range of guest houses which allow a quiet and relaxing environment to use as a home base while exploring the wonders the Upington area has to offer. Finally, Upington is the center of agriculture, education and trade for the Green Kalahari and Gordonia region. The rich soil of the Orange River floodplains allows for high quality grapes, raisins and wines for export, while wine tasting is available for wine connoisseurs.
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