is situated on the banks of the Mighty Orange River, which is one of the largest rivers in South Africa. Upington is rich in culture and history. The town was established in 1870, and since 1880 the town as a result has expanded rapidly and is now the business, agricultural and educational center of the Gordonia district.
No place for the meek, it started out as a mission station, established by a Reverend Christiaan Schroder. A church was built in 1875 and is today the Kalahari Oranje Museum, complete with all its period furnishings.
Upington was originally called Olyvenhoutsdrif (‘Olive wood drift’) due to the large number of olivewood trees in the area, as a result it was renamed Upington in 1898 after the Cape Colony’s attorney general at the time, Sir Thomas Upington.
Like Wild West towns, Upington had its share of skirmishes and its share of fortune-seeking scoundrels.
One of these was a man called George St Leger Gordon Lenox, alias ‘Scotty Smith’. An adventurer born in Scotland, he especially bought and sold illegal diamonds, stole horses and masterminded highway robberies. His gravestone is one of Upington’s tourist attractions.