The Augrabies Waterfalls are situated 120 km west of Upington, in the province of the Northern Cape, South Africa. The Khoi call the Augrabies Falls Aukoerebis, which means ‘the place of the Great Noise’. Consequently, the ‘Great Noise’ refers to the Orange River thundering its way downwards for 60 meters in a spectacular waterfall. You have to experience it for yourself in order to fully understand this meaning. The contrast of the waterfall within the desert setting provides a moving and absorbing experience. This is particularly true when there has been plenty of rain and the Orange River is overflowing. As a result, the waterfalls seems to increase in its splendour.
The waterfalls also form part of the Augrabies Falls National Park. The Augrabies Falls National Park is one of six South African national parks in the Northern Cape. In addition, it follows the course of the Orange River from just outside Kakamas to the Namibian border, spanning more than 800km² (www.southafrica.net).
Activities at the Augrabies Falls
The national park is home to a couple of rock formations, including the Moon Rock. This is a large, but weathered granite dome that towers about 30m above the park. It provides a fantastic all around view for those that are prepared to tackle the summit. Other viewpoints include Oranjekom, Ararat, and Echo Corner.
Except for the spectacular sight of the Augrabies Waterfall, one can enjoy a variety of activities and adventures in the surrounding area:
- Waterfall viewpoints that are walking distance the restaurants.
- Game viewing at leisure using own vehicle.
- Nights drives can be booked directly from the park.
- Mountain bikes are also allowed inside the park provided cyclists remain on the official roads.
- The Wilderness Road is 94km long and will take approximately 6 hours to complete in a 4×4 vehicle. There is a scenic picnic spot halfway along the road with ablution and braai facilities.
- There are several panoramic viewpoints inside the park. They all provide great views of the park, the gorge, and the Orange River. These points also provide great opportunities to spot the local birdlife.
- Rafting and canoeing
The best time to visit Augrabies is from March to May when the temperatures are slightly cooler and the river is at its maximum flow after summer rainfall up in the Lesotho catchment areas. The falls is a easy day-trip from Upington.