2015-02-052015-02-05 Campervan Hire Upington
Campervan Hire Upington
South Africa is one of the most diverse and enchanting countries in the world and Upington is no different. It is an incredible place to visit, especially in a motorhome rental. The town is situated on the banks of the Orange River, with weaver nests dotted along the hills and Savannah-type vegetation under vast blue skies. From Upington, the famous Augrabies Falls are only a short drive away.
Upington campervan hire – get the best deals
Upington is a great base to explore and Motorhome Republic delivers you the full range of campervan rental companies in Africa, by comparing them in one place. Everything you need to know is right there on the results page. From well-known, established firms to local, more domestic options, we present a vast network of options.
RVs can be quite cumbersome on smaller roads, so if it’s possible try and opt for a smaller converted van or camper. These may not have a loo or shower, and are generally quite basic, but good African camping facilities mean you don’t always require all of the trimmings.
Out of Africa – a road trip from Upington
Positioned on the Namakwari Route (Namibia-Namaqua-Kalahari) between Johannesburg, Cape Town and Namibia, Upington is the most convenient stop on your way to the Augrabies Falls National Park, Kalahari Gemsbok National Park, Fish River Canyon, Namaqualand, and Kalahari Desert.
The famous Augrabies Falls are around 125km to the west. The Khoi people called it the “Place of Great Noise”, with the thunderous water crashing 56m into the gorge. There’s almost three times the average high season flow rate of Niagara Falls.
It’s 230km between Upington and the Kgaladgadi Transfrontier National Park. This outback road trip needs a motorhome rental that is sturdy, so before you set off check everything is in order. Along the drive the beautiful red sand of the Kalahari pops. Cellphone reception is lacking in these parts so keep your eyes out the window and take in the majestic beauty that is Africa. In a few hours, cheetahs, lions, springbok, meerkats and ostriches all come into sight. At the park, guided game drives are organised in the morning and evenings.
Head for Koppieskraal, and ride camels on the red dunes, have a sunset braai (barbecue) with a grand old camelthorn log fire and toast the night away.
Motorhome camping – places to stay around Upington
Sakkie’s Arkie Camping Terrain has braai facilities under open stars on the banks of the Orange River.
The Urikaruus wilderness camp might be one of the best in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. You’ll need to book early to get a place. Views over the waterhole from the camp are perfect for animal spotting and it is illuminated at night.
Kalahari Monate Lodge Caravan Park is a lovely spot away from town. Most of the sites have good shade, are spotless and each one has a light at the braai. The springbok graze nearby and staff experienced and friendly.
Braii under the sky – restaurants in Upington
South Africa is red meat country, so head to the butcher and buy some for a braai (BBQ) under the wide Kalahari skies. Arabesque Coffee Shop does the best coffee in town and their breakfast packs a punch. Open every day, it’s a nice way to slowly wake to African time. Sakkie se Arkie is a floating bar on the Orange River. The name literally translates to Sakkie's little ark (as in Noah’s Ark).
For a romantic evening, take in the calming nights of the Kalahari sounds and skies at the luxury in-and-outdoor dining of Bilo’s Restaurant and Bistro. Ostritch, Springbok and Blue wildebeest graze free in the wild camp next to Bi-Lo’s Bistro and Pub.
Dros Restaurant is a cool retreat from the sun. Come in from the Kalahari heat to one of Upington’s favourite restaurants. The atmosphere is relaxed, but it’s the food that will bring you back.
What to do in Upington
Upington city itself is basically a medium-sized country town. However, it makes a good base for road tripping out to the game parks and further afield. While you are in town though, there are a couple of things you should stop in and see.
Oranje River Wine Cellars Co-Operation is the biggest cooperative in South Africa and the second biggest in the world. These cellars don’t produce wine as a matter of course, but instead have business in raisins. But they will do a wine tasting if you’re keen.
Spitskop Nature Reserve is only a few kilometres from Upington. Here you can spot wildlife on around 40km of gravel roads and three hiking trails. There is no need to fear for your safety, as there are no carnivores in this reserve. Climb up to the hill telescope for distant game viewing.
In Upington, police used to ride atop camels in order to enforce the law. The Camel and Rider statue in front of the police station recognises this. Donkeys were often employed to pump water in this dry place and also have a statue in recognition of their hard work. Drive up to the bridge on the Groblershoop Road for the best views of the Hortentia Windmill, built by the Reverend Christian Schröder in 1879.
England has Robin Hood, Australia has Ned Kelly, the USA has Jesse James – and South Africa has Scotty Smith. You can visit Scotty’s grave in Upington and learn about the legends of old. One tale talks of a night when police raided his campsite and he calmly dropped stolen diamonds into the kettle that was heating on his fire. When the water boiled, he poured coffee for the policemen and himself, and was not caught.
Upington motorhome guide
Here are a couple of handy things to know for your campervan holiday in South Africa:
If you are in a camper and not in an RV, remember you need a torch to go to the toilet.
If you are hiking, make sure your feet are prepared and in good condition.
Pack hats, sunscreen, insect repellent and don't forget water bottles.
Pre-book some of your campsites, particularly in the more popular areas and game parks.
Drinking water is generally safe and palatable across all of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland, unless specifically stated to the contrary.
It is worth keeping receipts for high-value products as you can claim a VAT refund on presentation of receipt and purchase item at point of exit from South Africa. Currently the total claim must exceed R\250.