Augrabies National Park

One of many impressive views in the park

About 120 kilometres from the town of Upington is a place that the original Khoi inhabitants called 'Aukoerebis' or 'the place of the great noise'. Situated on the Orange River, the Augrabies Falls, as they are known today, is one of the most impressive waterfalls in South Africa and the Augrabies National Park is wonderful place to visit in the Northern Cape.

The Augrabies National Park covers nearly 820 000 km2 to the north and south of the Orange River. The premier landmark of the park, as you may have guessed, is the Augrabies Falls. These 60 metre high falls may not be as high or as huge as some of the other waterfalls in the world, but what it lacks in size, it makes up in sheer immensity. When the annual floods push the river over its banks it has been measured that the Augrabies falls has more water cascading over it than Niagra Falls does in an entire year!

The Augrabies Falls are part of the Orange River Gorge that stretches through the national park. The gorge measure 18 kilometres long and is 240 metres deep. This area was the perfect place for early Stone Age people to settle. Today, stone cairns built by these early people can still be seen and archaeological finds are still being made in the most surprising places.

The Augrabies Falls National Park is home to wide diversity of animals. Many animals that are endemic to the Karoo and Kalahari districts can be found here including gemsbok, eland and the rare black rhinoceros.

The park is a sanctuary for many indigenous plants but especially the giant aloe that is locally known as the kokerboom. This particular species is not found in any great numbers anywhere else in the world and is especially suited to the semi-desert environment of the area. Both animals and people have used the plant as a source of water and sustenance.

The Augrabies Falls are the centrepiece of a beautiful natural masterpiece that stretches across the Northern Cape. The dry scrubland comes to life around the live giving Orange River and where it cascades into the gorge, the fine mist of the waterfall brings life giving moisture to the surrounding plants. Truly, the Augrabies Falls National Park is a national wonder to behold.

 

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