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Northern Cape

Eastern Cape | Free State | Gauteng | KwaZulu-Natal | Limpopo
Mpumalanga | Northern Cape | North West | Western Cape


The vast and arid Northern Cape is by far the largest province,
slightly bigger than Germany and taking up nearly a third of South Africa's land area. Yet it has the country's smallest population,
around 1-million people, and an extremely roomy population
density of three people per square kilometre.

The province lies to the south of its most important asset, the
mighty Orange River, which feeds the agriculture and alluvial diamonds industries. The river forms the border with the country
of Namibia in the north, while the Molopo River is at the border with Botswana to the northeast.

The Northern Cape landscape is characterised by vast arid plains
with outcroppings of haphazard rock piles.
The cold Atlantic Ocean forms the western boundary.
About 68% of the population speak Afrikaans, with other languages being Setswana, isiXhosa and English.
Apart from a narrow strip of winter rainfall area along the coast, the province is a semi-arid region with little rainfall in summer. The weather conditions are extreme - cold and frosty in winter, with extremely high temperatures in summer.


Donkey Cart
near Springbok

A San Family in
the Kalahari Desert

Astronomical
Observatory

The Road to Pofadder
Clear skies and distant galaxies
The US$36-million Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) near the remote Northern Cape town of Sutherland is the largest telescope in the southern hemisphere and among the 10 biggest in the world, with a hexagonal mirror array 11 metres in diameter.
SALT enables scientists to see distant stars, galaxies and quasars a billion times too faint to be visible to the naked eye - as faint as a candle's flame at the distance of the moon.

The Northern Cape has also been shortlisted to host one of the biggest and most sophisticated scientific instruments in the world, the Square Kilometre Array - a future generation international radio telescope that will allow astronomers to probe the early evolution of our galaxy!


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