The largest part of the Northern Cape falls within the Nama-Karoo biome with a vegetation of low shrubland, grass and trees limited to water courses.
Across the world, the province is known for its stunning display of spring flowers (which attracts thousands of tourists each Spring). Springbok lies in the heart of the Namaqualand spring-flower country. This biome is home to many unique plant species, such as the elephant's foot (halfmens), tree aloe (kokerboom) and a variety of succulents.
There are various national parks in the Northern Cape, including Africa's first transfrontier game park - the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park which combines South Africa's Kalahari Gemsbok National Park with the Gemsbok National Park in Botswana. The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park provides unfenced freedom (over 2 million hectare) to a variety of wild animals, and is one of the last and largest protected natural ecosystems worldwide.
The Northern Cape is rich in fossils.
The province has fertile agricultural land (this would probably be a mute point if it weren't for the fact that the province lies just to the south of the powerful Orange River).
In 1999, the granting of 4000 ha of irrigation water rights to commercial farmers along the orange river was approved to facilitate high value crops as well as increase land and economic equity in the Orange River Basin. In the Orange River Valley, especially at Kakamas, Keimoes & Upington, grapes and fruit are intensively cultivated. Cotton, fruit, maize, peanuts & wheat are produced near Warrenton (at the Vaalharts Irrigation Scheme).
The economy of the interior Karoo depends largely on sheep-farming. Upington is the centre of the karakul sheep pelt (Gordonia district) and dried fruit industries, and the most northerly wine-making region in South Africa.
The province has several national parks and conservation areas such as the Kalahari Gemsbok National park which, together with the Gemsbok National Park in Botswana, is Africa's first transfrontier game park, known as the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. It is one of the largest nature conservation areas in southern Africa, and one of the largest remaining protected natural ecosystems in the world. The park provides unfenced access to a variety of game between South Africa and Botswana and has a surface area of more than two million hectares.
There has been rapid growth in game farming.