AUGRABIES FALLS NATIONAL PARK
Augrabies Falls National Park
Augrabies Falls National Park is a national park located around the Augrabies Falls, about 120km west of Upington. It was established in 1966.
The Augrabies Falls National Park covers an area of 820 km² and stretches along the Orange River. The area is very arid. The waterfall is about 60 metres high and is awe-inspiring when the river is in flood. The gorge below the falls averages about 240 m deep and runs for 18 kilometres. The gorge provides an impressive example of erosion into a granitic basement.
The original Khoikhoi people named the waterfall Ankoerebis, meaning the “place of big noises”. The Trekboers who later settled in the area derived the name Augrabies. There are many deposits of alluvial diamonds along the Orange River and legend has it that the biggest cache of diamonds in the world lies in the swirl-hole eroded into the granite at the foot of the waterfall by the thundering waters.
On the menu of plant species is the enigmatic Quiver tree or Kokerboom (Aloe dichotoma). Traditionally, the Khoisan hunters made their quivers from this tree which dates back thousands of years and which produces vivd yellow flowers in May and June.
The Augrabies Falls National Park offers an ancient landscape that will take you back in time to the world of the first hunter-gatherers.
Just as they did thousands of years ago, if you sit silently you might be treated to the sight of a beautiful pair of klipspringers grazing – all the while keeping alert to the slightest sign of trouble from any of the predators, including leopards, jackals and the African wild cat. The klipspringers are not the only ones that are preyed upon. The park is the natural habitat for other antelope species such as steenbok, springbok, gemsbok, kudu and eland. You will hopefully see them all as you explore the park.
Complete your visit with a bird’s eye view of the park from the top of the Moon Rock – a vast ‘whaleback’ dome which is a prominent landmark of Augrabies Falls. Walking to the summit will give one of the best views of the park and its surroundings.