Upington is the chief City in the Northern Region of South Africa. It was established on the bank of the Orange River in 1870. By uniting Christian Schröder’s 1871 Mission Station, 'Olyfenhoutsdrift' and the Upington Police Station. The Mission Station now houses the Town Museum, known as: 'Kalahari Orange Museum'. The Museum is also the Home of the famous donkey Statue, which recognizes the enormous contribution that this animal made to the development of the region during the revolutionary days of the 19th Century!
The Town of Upington, named after the first Attorney General of the Cape, Sir Thomas Upington. This dry and hot Area is characterized by desolate Deserts and harsh Landscapes. Upington boasts a marvelous Oasis with the fertile and lush Orange River Valley, running through it. This shimmering Valley provides a green ribbon through the harsh Landscapes bringing life-giving water from the distant highlands of Lesotho. Upington currently boasts a population of 72 198 inhabitants. It was named after Sir Thomas Upington, the Attorney-General of the Cape.
In the 1870's this Area, was inhabited by Griqua People under leadership of Klaas Lucas and of Klaas Pofadder. Back then these men were known as 'the river pirates', living on the many small islands situated in the Orange River.
Even though the Landscapes in the Area are very arid, the soil is still very fertile and crops such as fruit 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. The Orange River is also a major source of relaxation and entertainment for travelers and locals alike. Its beauty and tranquility attracts people from all over the Country yearly. Upington also boasts many beautifully landscaped Gardens, rose beds and large, graceful trees all situated in a genuine atmosphere of peace and tranquility!
Upington is an ideal Winter Holiday Destination, with all the modern conveniences on the major Routes to Namibia and Kalahari, Augrabies, Fish River Canyon and Northern Cape Bound by the Orange River and the Kalahari. It is to the Augrabies Falls which is arguably the king of South African Waterfalls. As the Commercial and Educational centre of the Green Kalahari, Upington is much larger than any of the surrounding Villages.
Upington is a favorite hotspot for thrilling Outdoor Activities such as; hunting, boating, fishing, golfing as well as water skiing. For all the wine connoisseurs, spend the day at The Orange River Wine Cellars. This is a five-cellar Co-Operative. It is the largest in the Country and the second largest in the World. It offers fantastic wine-tasting tours and tours of the facility. The South African Dried Fruit Co-Operative is a rather modern co-operative and the second largest of its kind in the world. Freshly packed dried fruit can be bought on the premises.
Popular attractions in Upington include Die Eiland (“The Island”), Spitskop Nature Reserve, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Kalahari Kuierfees, The Raisin Festival and the SA Dried Fruit Co annual triathlon.
Die Eiland is a Holiday Resort situated on an Island, in the middle of the Orange River. It boasts a gorgeous Date Palm entrance avenue of 1 041 metres of Palms planted 9 m apart, which makes it one of the longest and the most dense palm avenues in the Southern Hemisphere. The Raisin Festival is great fun for all travelers and locals in the Area. This festival boasts: a colourful parade of floats, beauty competitions, craft building competitions, potjiekos, pancakes and plenty of fun for family and visitors.
Upington's Central Business District is a buzz with business activities. Its Economy greatly relies on Agriculture, Tourism and the Services Industry. Its modern shops, excellent facilities and easy accessibility to popular hotspots make it the centre of this vast City. Upington boasts a fantastic Transport system including an Airport. Upington Airport may be small, but it is by no means quiet! In fact, it does a brisk business in cargo including everything from live sheep and goats, to cars and mining equipment. Not to mention grapes! Approximately 1 million tons of grapes leave this beautiful City, every Year. This Airport also boasts the longest Runway in Africa at 4.9 km, (NASA has this as a Backup Runway for its Space Shuttles!)
Upington may seem arid and desolate, but it is in fact a bustling area boasting great beauty, fun and adventure. There is plenty to see, do and enjoy here!