Upington is the capital of South Africa's Northern Region. It was founded in 1870 on the banks of the Orange River. By combining Christian Schroder's 1871 mission station, 'Olyfenhoutsdrift, and the Upington Police Station, The Mission Station now contains the Town Museum, also known as the 'Kalahari Orange Museum'. The Museum is also home to the renowned donkey statue, which commemorates the immense contribution this animal made to the development of the region during the revolutionary era of the nineteenth century!
Sir Thomas Upington, the first Attorney General of the Cape, inspired the naming of Upington. This parched and hot region is comprised of desolate deserts and arid terrain. The fruitful and verdant Orange River Valley runs through Upington, creating a marvelous oasis. This gleaming valley provides a green ribbon through the harsh terrain, carrying life-sustaining water from the distant Lesotho highlands. Currently, Upington has a population of 72,198 people. It was named after the Cape's attorney general, Sir Thomas Upington.
In the 1870s, this region was occupied by the Griqua People, led by Klaas Lucas and Klaas Pofadder. In the past, these individuals were known as "river pirates" and resided on the Orange River's numerous small islands.
Even though the region's landscapes are extremely arid, the soil is still quite fertile, and commodities such as fruit are cultivated in irrigated fields. On the Orange River's fertile floodplains are cultivated export-quality grapes, raisins, and wines. The Orange River is also a significant source of recreation and amusement for tourists and natives. Annually, people from all over the nation are attracted by its grandeur and serenity. Upington also features many exquisitely landscaped gardens, rose beds, and large, stately trees, all of which are situated in an authentic atmosphere of serenity and tranquility!
Upington is an ideal winter vacation spot, as it is situated on the major routes to Namibia and the Kalahari, Augrabies, Fish River Canyon, and the Northern Cape, which is bounded by the Orange River and the Kalahari. It is to Augrabies Falls, which is arguably the most magnificent waterfall in South Africa. As the commercial and educational hub of the Green Kalahari, Upington is significantly larger than the neighboring villages. Hunting, canoeing, fishing, golfing, and water skiing are popular outdoor pursuits in Upington. Wine enthusiasts should spend the day at the Orange River Wine Cellars. This is a cooperative of five cells. It is the country's largest and the second-largest in the globe. It offers exceptional wine tasting tours and facility excursions. The South African Dried Fruit Co-Operative is the second-largest co-op of its kind in the world and a relatively modern cooperative. On-site, freshly packaged dried produce is available for purchase. Die Eiland ("The Island"), Spitskop Nature Reserve, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Kalahari Kuierfees, the Raisin Festival, and the SA Dried Fruit Co. annual triathlon are popular attractions in Upington.
The Central Business District of Upington is bustling with business activity. Its economy is heavily dependent on agriculture, tourism, and services. It is the epicenter of this vast city due to its modern stores, outstanding facilities, and proximity to popular attractions. Upington has an excellent transportation infrastructure, which includes an airport. Although Upington Airport is tiny, it is by no means tranquil! In fact, it has a thriving cargo industry, transporting everything from live sheep and goats to automobiles and mining equipment. To say nothing of fruits! Each year, approximately one million tons of grapes depart this beautiful city. This airport also features the longest runway in Africa at 4.9 kilometers (NASA utilizes this runway as a backup for space shuttles!).
Upington may appear arid and desolate, but it is actually a thriving region rich in beauty, entertainment, and adventure. There is much to see, do, and appreciate in this area!
Information Courtesy of www.sahistory.org.za/place/upington-northern-cape