The Northern Cape province lies to the south of its most important asset, the mighty Orange River, which provides the basis for a healthy agriculture industry. The landscape is characterised by vast arid plains with outcroppings of haphazard rock piles. The cold Atlantic Ocean forms the western boundary.

This region covers the largest area of all the provinces and has the smallest population. The major airports are situated at Kimberley, the capital, and Upington. The Northern Cape is serviced by an excellent road network, which makes its interior easily accessible from South Africa's major cities, harbours and airports.

Important towns are Upington, centre of the karakul sheep and dried fruit industries, and the most northerly wine-making region in South Africa; Springbok in the heart of the Namaqualand spring-flower country; Kuruman founded by the missionary Moffat; De Aar, hub of the South African railway network; Sutherland, the coldest town in the country; and the sheep-farming towns of Carnarvon, Colesberg, Kenhardt and Prieska.
Apart from a narrow strip of winter-rainfall area along the coast, the Northern Cape is a semi-arid region with little rainfall in summer. The weather conditions are extreme ­ cold and frosty in winter, and extremely high temperatures in summer.