This principal town of the Green Kalahari is 820km north of Cape Town and 875km west of Johannesburg. It is the commercial, educational and social centre of the Green Kalahari, owing its prosperity to agriculture on the irrigated lands along the Orange River. Linked by air and road to most parts of the country, the town is easily accessible, and offers excellent accommodation as well as well-developed commercial infrastructure. It is a convenient stop over for travellers going to the Augrabies Falls National Park, the Fishriver Canyon, Namaqualand flowers or the Botswana and Namibian Borders.
The bustling town of Upington is home to several unique tourist attractions, including:
• CAMEL AND DONKEY MONUMENTS – Commemorate the role these domestic animals played in the history of the region.
• THE 1041m LONG DATE PALM AVENUE – At the entrance of the Eiland Holiday Resort – one of the longest palm avenues in the southern hemisphere.
• THE ORANGE RIVER CELLARS TASTING ROOM – Presents the visitor with a unique range of natural and fortified wines. Contact (054) 054 495 0040
• KALAHARI ORANJE MUSEUM COMPLEX – It was built by Reverent Schroder and his congregation in 1875 as a church and mission station. Domestic items dating from that era and articles relating to the history of Upington and the Lower Orange River can be seen here. The museum is home to a life-sized monument of the donkey sculptured in bronze by Hennie Potgieter. The sculpture symbolizes the unselfish contribution made by the donkey in developing the Lower Orange River Valley during the pioneer days.
• THE GRAVE OF SCOTTY SMITH – “George St Leger Gordon Lennox. Gone but not forgotten. Never will his memory fade”. As this inscription on his gravestone predicts, George St Leger Gordon Lennox, alias Scotty Smith, will live forever. Legend has it that he was the Robin Hood of the region. Scotty Smith died in Upington during the 1918 flu epidemic and was buried in the local cemetery.
• SAKKIE SE ARKIE – Go on a sunset cruise on Sakkie se Arkie – equipped with an onboard bar, barbeque facilities and toilets. Contact: 082 567 5447
• OASIS DEVELOPMENT CENTRE & UPINGTON AND BENEFICIATION PROJECT – The main aim of this centre is to secure opportunities for persons with disabilities and youth. The life skills learned will grant them the tools required to be self-sufficient.
• BEZALEL WINERY – This winery is about 15km from Upington on the N14. Visitors will be treated to wine tasting and a tour of the cellar. Contact: (054) 491 1325
• THE UPINGTON 26 MONUMENT – Unveiled on 26 March 2011 (Human Rights Day), this monument commemorates the roles the Upington 26 played in the fight against oppression & apartheid during the 80’s when they were sentenced to death row. It also pays tribute to sacrifices made by their families and celebrates the victorious campaign of the community of Pabalello. You can contact Boy Jafta on 076 789 9564 or Myner Bovu on 082 699 9911.
• THE GRIETJIE STEAM LOCOMOTIVE-There are quite a few plinthed locomotives in South Africa. A retired Steam locomotive named Grietjie is found at the Upington Railway station.
• REKOPANE WINE FARM AND HERB – Your host, Surené Bezuidenhout, will treat you with her knowledge of herbs and you will be able to make your own herb bouquet and mess around in her garden. A light snack will also be served and wine tasting can also be arranged.
Contact: 082 492 4669.