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Upington is situated along the banks of the mighty Gariep (or Orange) River, South Africa’s longest river and the natural border between the country’s northern neighbours. When viewed from above, Upington is encircled by a large fertile green strip that runs the length of the river and what has become known as the Green Kalahari.
The area around Upington was first settled in 1870 as a mission station but during this period it was also used as a stronghold by bandits, river pirates and deserters. By 1884 the riffraff had been sent packing and the settlement had grown into a formal town, named after a Prime Minister of the Cape Colony.
Upington is best known for the sweet table grapes grown here, along with dates and a small but thriving wine industry. The town is close to the impressive Augrabies Falls and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, an enormous game reserve shared between South Africa and Botswana.
Top 8 reasons to visit Upington
1. Stop in at the Kalahari-Oranje Museum, housed in the old mission church, to learn more of the town’s fascinating history. The bronze donkey at the entrance is a tribute to the animal that had such a major effect on 19th century industry and agriculture.
2. Take a sundown riverboat cruise on Sakkie se Arkie. Look out for the majestic fish eagle as the sun sets over the Gariep River. Snacks and beverages are served on the boat during the 90 minute cruise.
3. The picturesque Bezalel Wine and Brandy Estate outside of town offers a distillery and cellar tour and tastings of the estate’s wines, pot-still brandies and aromatic liqueurs. The estate is a popular wedding venue.
4. Find out what makes Upington tick by taking a walk through the town to engage with the friendly locals, sample the home-grown food, stock up on deciduous fruit and dates... Show more