Augrabies Falls National Park
About a 1-hour drive from Upington, the Augrabies Falls National Park in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa is worth a visit for so much more than just the waterfall, though it is an impressive one. Few sights are as awesome or a sound as deafening as water thundering down the 56-m Augrabies Waterfall when the Orange River is in full flood. The Khoi people called it ‘Aukoerebis’, or place of Great Noise, as this powerful flow of water is unleashed from rocky surroundings characterized by the 18-km abyss of the Orange River Gorge.
Especially in late summer, when the Augrabies Waterfall carries a lot of water, it is a spectacular sight, but even more fascinating are the unique ecosystems that surround the river and fall. Picturesque names such as Moon Rock, Ararat and Echo Corner are descriptive of this rocky region. Klipspringer and kokerboom (quiver trees) stand in stark silhouette against the African sky, silent sentinels in a strangely unique environment where only those that are able to adapt ultimately survive. The 28 000 hectares on both the northern and southern sides of the Orange River provide sanctuary to a diversity of species, from the very smallest succulents, birds and reptiles to springbok, gemsbok and the endangered black rhino.
There are several nature walks as well as fascinating day and night drives available. The waterfall viewpoints are within walking distance from the restaurant complex. Game viewing can be done using your own vehicle.
A Highly Recommended Hike, is the 3-day 'Klipspringer Hiking Trail' (advance booking essential; closed October to March due to heat). If your time is short but you still want to explore this magical landscape, you should try the 3-hour 'Dassie Trail' (no bookings necessary). Another interesting activity option is the 'Gariep 3-in-1 Adventure'. This is a three-part adventure comprising rowing for 4 km down the mighty Orange River, walking for 4 km and returning to camp by mountain bike (12 km). Enquiries and reservation at the main complex in the park.
Tourist attractions of special interest, the Falls, Moon Rock, Ararat, Arrow Point and Echo Corner.
5 things to seek, the Falls, Springbok, Klipspringer, Black Stork and Pygmy Falcon.
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View Augrabies Falls map in a larger Nothern Cape map.
Courtesy: South African National Parks
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