Upington is situated in an intensively cultivated area on the banks of the Orange River.
Originally known as Kharahais, bound by the Orange River and the Kalahari desert, today Upington is the principal town and commercial, educational and social centre of the Green Kalahari.
It is the centre of the Karakul sheep and dry fruit industries in the country and it is the most northerly winemaking centre in South Africa with the largest wine cellars in South Africa and the second largest in the world.
This portion of the Orange River has many small islands in the main stream and in the mid-1800s these densely wooded areas were strongholds for rustlers and renegades. A ford across the river, known as Olijvenhoutsdrift, became a focal point for these outlaws. In 1870 the Koranna (Khoisan) chief Klaas Lucas sent word that he would like a missionary to come to to teach his people to read and write.
The Reverend Christiaan Schröder (a son of one of a Rhenish missionary in Namaqualand) was sent from Cape Town and established the Olijvenhoutsdrift Mission Station in 1873.
Sir Thomas Upington, the first Attorney-general of the Cape Colony, visited the region in 1879 and decided to establish a police station outpost to keep order.
This police station was known as Upington, and only in 1898 did the mission station and the police station unite to form the town of Upington.
Lekker Links
Google Map of Upington
Northern Cape Tourism Authority
Upington’s website
Kalahari | Kgalagadi
Holiday in Kimberley & the Northern Cape Northern Cape province
Barkly West, Calvinia, Carnarvon, Colesberg, De Aar, Kimberley, Kuruman, Port Nolloth, Prieska, Springbok, Upington.
Augrabies Falls National Park
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
Namakwa (Namaqua) National Park
Richtersveld Transfrontier Park
Tankwa Karoo National Park
Mokala National Park
This small settlement grew rapidly and the variety of agricultural activities, the considerable natural wealth and the endless source of Orange River water all added to its prosperity.
The Manse (rector’s house) and the church that stand here today are the original buildings that Reverend Schröder built when he began the mission, and now houses the Kalahari Orange Museum.
The museum is home to the life-sized monument of the donkey, sculptured in bronze by Hennie Potgieter. It symbolizes the unselfish contribution made by the donkey in developing the Lower Orange River Valley during the pioneer days.
The landscape is very arid but the soil is fertile and crops are grown in irrigated fields. The area is best known for its export-quality grapes, raisins and wines, which are cultivated on the rich flood plains of the Orange river. Upington Airport has the longest runway in Africa at 4,900m.
Upington enjoys a summer rainfall and hot climate, often reaching 40°C. An ideal winter holiday resort, its facilities are excellent and the countryside contrasts semi-desert reds with the emerald and olive greens of fertile vineyards.
Upington is an excellent staging post for those travelling to the Augrabies Falls National Park, the Richtersveld Transfrontier Park, the Fish River Canyon and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.

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