It’s awe-inspiring watching tonnes of water fall nearly 60 metres into a turbulent pool. The roar is nearly deafening and the spray drenching.
This summer the Augrabies Falls were in flood, recording around 3 000 cubic metres per second at their peak in February .
Rising in eastern Lesotho, the Orange River is South Africa’s largest and longest river. It travels almost 2 500km from the Drakensberg mountain range to Alexander Bay on the west coast, where it spills into the treacherous Atlantic Ocean. Over millennia, the river left in its path rich diamond deposits that caused a diamond rush in the early 1870s.
The biggest Augrabies Falls flood recorded was in 1988, when 7 800 cubic metres per second tumbled into the pool at the bottom of the falls. There, legend has it, the world’s largest deposit of diamonds lies. Even when the falls are at a low, this deposit would be nearly impossible to retrieve due to the crushing effect of the water. In days gone by word was that the diamonds were also protected by a serpentine monster called the Grootslang (big snake).
To see the falls, visit the Augrabies Falls National Park.