Northern Cape is not forgotten
© FIFA.com

As football mania gains momentum in the nine 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ host cities, the province of the Northern Cape quietly goes about its business as it prepares to leverage the one-month long event despite being the only region not to host any matches.

While there won’t be any FIFA World Cup football on their doorstep, the large region has been busy getting up to speed in order not to miss out on the football euphoria in the country, and officials from the province are determined not to be left in the lurch as they look to welcome fans who will be travelling between some of the host cities.

Part of that plan is to lure visiting fans into making a pit stop in the province during their travels as they follow their teams in South Africa. For example, a journey from Johannesburg to Cape Town can easily take one via some of Northern Cape’s towns that serve as travel hubs, including De Aar, Colesberg and Upington.

And located less than two hours away from Mangaung/Bloemfontein, the capital of Kimberly is positioning itself as an accommodation alternative for the thousands of football fans who will descend on "Bloem" to watch matches at Free State Stadium.

Cape Town prides itself on being the "Mother City," Port Elizabeth enthuses on being the "Friendly City," Johannesburg raves about being the "City of Gold," and so the list goes. But while all three of the above-mentioned cities enjoy international pedigree, not much is known about the Northern Cape Province nor the towns located there. However, Northern Cape is now crafting a new image for itself. A small glance at their colourful brochure provides an insight with the bold promise of "unique prime destinations" in the country.

Say hello to Kimberly
Kimberly is the most well-known city in the province. It is one of the oldest cities in the Northern Cape and boasts a rich history and a number of adventurous activities that include quad biking, taking long walks in the desert, visiting museums and a host of other things.

No matter that they will not host any matches, Northern Cape Premier Hazel Jenkins sees the long-term benefit for the area, which will host the Uruguayan delegation. “The hosting of a World Cup team brings a number of benefits to the people of the Northern Cape. The tourist potential to the Province is enormous in that we will be provided with an opportunity to profile the Northern Cape as a desired destination to the followers of the team.  As a result the ailing bulk infrastructure network will receive attention,” she said.

“For the football loving people of the Northern Cape that will not be in a position to experience the thrill of watching their favourite teams compete in person, the Northern Cape Government will make available six Public Viewing Areas (PVAs) throughout the Province with another nine in smaller centres. The public viewing areas will emulate the atmosphere at the stadiums, and it will allow football lovers the chance to converge at a central point to watch all games live,” Jenkins added.

Renowned for its semi-desert landscapes and diamond production, the Northern Cape Province is one of the lesser-known yet still tourist-friendly places in South Africa. One of the must-do things when in the Northern Cape is to take 4x4 rides through the desert. You can also enjoy the experience with hired quad bikes as you peer through the Namaqualand and Bushmanland.

Running through the town of Upington, the Orange River is one of the famous waterways in South Africa since it is the longest river in the country. A four-hour canoeing experience from Upington will enable you to feel a part of the other side of wildlife, and one of the most sought after things to do there is to have breakfast on the banks of this historic river