Vast tracts of bleak, shimmering semidesert contrast dramatically with lush green vineyards filling the Orange River’s fertile valleys. The massive body of water meanders through a giant valley of its making, being at its most impressive at the Augrabies Falls National Park, where the deafening fury of a huge torrent of angry water plummeting 56m down a series of granite cataracts speaks volumes for the river’s awesome power. By 1884, the river had been claimed by colonialists, and irrigation and development followed.
Today, you can travel peacefully from wine cellars to tearooms in the desert; from a luxurious lodge to the desolation of Verneukpan. Yet, not all is tamed. The mighty Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Africa’s first transfrontier park, comprises almost 3.7 million hectares of sparsely vegetated, red sand dunes and dry riverbeds.
The reserve provides sanctuary for gemsbok, springbok, blue wildebeest, red hartebeest, eland, lion, leopard, cheetah and smaller game. One of Africa’s last pristine game reserves, the size of the park allows for the mass migration of different species, a sight inducing awe and deepseated emotion.