Augrabies Falls National Park
Did you know?
‘Augrabies' comes from the Khoi word ‘aukoerebis' meaning ‘great noise' from the thunderous sound of the falls.
The Augrabies Falls National Park is one of six South African national parks in the Northern Cape. It follows the course of the Orange River from just outside Kakamas to the Namibian border, spanning more than 800km².
One of its biggest drawcards is the Orange River which thunders its way through the park cascading powerfully down the 56m Augrabies Falls. This impressive visual display is second only to the incredible noise the water makes as it follows its age-old path to the Atlantic Ocean.
The resulting Orange River Gorge is about 240m deep and runs for about 18km through the park, making for dramatic geological formations along the way.
In fact, the Augrabies Falls National Park is home to a couple of fascinating rock formations, including the aptly named Moon Rock. This massive weathered granite dome rises out of the semi-desert landscape, towering 30m above the park. It provides fantastic 360-degree vistas to those prepared to tackle the summit.
There are three viewpoints in the park: Oranjekom, Ararat and Echo Corner, all of which overlook the river and gorge. Echo Corner, as its name suggests, also has the distinction of producing resounding eerie echoes.
Despite the hot and dry habitat, many animals and plants have adapted to the conditions, offering a rewarding game experience. Visitors are able to do self-guided game drives or guided night drives with park officials.
Expect to see springbok, gemsbok, kudu, klipspringer, African wild cat, spotted genet and giraffe – many of which are more active at night when it's cooler. Leopard also prowl the park, although sightings of these elusive cats are rare.
The Augrabies Falls National Park has a substantial bird population that includes several raptor species and breeding pairs of Verreaux's eagles (previously known as black eagles).
Many adventure activities are also offered in the park. These range from hiking (try the overnight Klipspringer and Dassie hiking trails) to canoeing the Orange River, a 4x4 wilderness trail and mountain biking.