Augrabies Falls

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South Africa >> Upington >> Attractions >> Augrabies Falls

Augrabies Falls

History

Meandering through the north-western part of South Africa, the Orange River makes its way through a landscape of stark, rose-hued sandstone. Along the way, just about 120 km west of the town of Upington, the river falls over a series of steep cliffs to form the spectacular Augrabies Falls, the focal point of the Augrabies Falls National Park. The Augrabies National Park spans the northern and southern parts of the Orange River, covering 820 sq km of rocky land. Augrabies has a whole lot of treasures - The area around the waterfalls is one of South Africa’s most stunning wildlife sanctuaries, with a wealth of plant and animal life. No diamonds here, but a number of interesting and rare birds and animals inhabit this area. The park is home to the endangered black rhino apart from gemsbok, springbok, vervet monkeys, baboons and many other animals and reptiles. Among Augrabies’ many avian species are black eagle, black stork, doublebanded sandgrouse, fairy flycatcher and rosyfaced lovebird. Birds, in fact, are among the park’s prime attractions, and a large number of keen birdwatchers visit Augrabies simply to get a glimpse of the birdlife of the Northern Cape. The park is home to the endangered black rhino apart from gemsbok, springbok, vervet monkeys, baboons and many other animals and reptiles. Among Augrabies’ many avian species are black eagle, black stork, doublebanded sandgrouse, fairy flycatcher and rosyfaced lovebird. Birds, in fact, are among the park’s prime attractions, and a large number of keen birdwatchers visit Augrabies simply to get a glimpse of the birdlife of the Northern Cape. Once within the park, visitors can move around in a game-viewing vehicle, or better still, do a trek down one of the many hiking trails which crisscross Augrabies. Among the national park’s most popular trails are the trails to the Potholes, to Arrow Point and to the Moon Rock, all about an hour’s walking time. A longer, but more fulfilling, route is the Klipspringer Hiking Trail, which lasts for 2 nights and 3 days, and must be booked in advance. For the really adventurous, there are canoeing and rafting facilities available at the Falls.

Best time to visit

Augrabies Falls National Park is open to visitors throughout the year, but the best time to visit is in the winter, between March and October. If you’re keen on hiking along the Klipspringer Trail, this is the only time you can go- the trail’s open only between April and September.

Trivia

‘Augrabies’ is derived from a Khoi Bushman word, which means ‘great noise’, referring to the Orange River as it thunders down 191mt, to fall in a cascade of foaming white water- one of the highest cataract-type waterfalls in the world. Rather than the height, it is the awesome mass of water that makes it an impressive sight. And that awe is, if anything, heightened when the water hurtles over the rock bed to form the Augrabies Falls. Legend has it that at the bottom of the waterfall lies a fortune in diamonds- yet undiscovered, for who would brave that towering mass of water to search for diamonds?

Timing

All visitors to Augrabies Falls National Park are required to pay a nominal entry fee at the gate to the park. The fee for adults is R12; for children, it’s R6.


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