The Orange River Gorge below the waterfall in the Augrabies Falls National Park in the Northern Cape province of South Africa.
Vacations to Augrabies Falls National Park, South Africa
The Khoi people have named this place ‘Aukoerebis’ – ‘Place of Great Noise’. It is a destination that brings the senses to life, from the dramatic rock formations to the crashing of the Orange River and the scent of flowering succulents. This is Augrabies Falls National Park, one of the most raw and imposing landscapes of South Africa.
Centred around a 56-meter waterfall that goes by the same name, Augrabies Falls National Park echoes with the thundering sound of the cascades and the eighteen-kilometer Orange River Gorge that carves out the landscape. Here, nature thrives, from the tiniest of succulents to the giraffe, springbok and rock hyrax wandering through the hills. Overhead, the African fish eagle soars, searching for critters among the rocks, such as the rainbow-coloured Broadley’s flat lizard.
This impressive park covers an area of 820 square kilometers of arid land and fertile plains beyond the Swart Rante igneous rock hills. Wandering along the gorge, you might spot glimmers of alluvial diamonds, and unusual formations like whirl holes and the majestic Moon Rock. This huge dome sits at 700 meters wide, which you can hike around on a beautiful trail passing various cascades and natural landmarks.
Along the way, look out for the iconic quiver tree – the giant aloe – with its strange silhouette and blooms that draw everything from winter birds to baboons for their sweet nectar. Once, the local bushmen used the feathery branches to make quivers for their arrows.
If you’re an avid hiker, this is one of the best locations to visit in South Africa. Head to Hartmann’s Loop to see stunning landscapes and resilient plants, such as the wild tamarisk, that make a home for mountain zebras, kudus, giraffes and gemsbok. Alternatively, follow the Ebony Trail, under the cool shade of the ebony trees. Along the way, keep watch for vibrant bird species including the sociable weaver, pygmy falcon, Verreaux’s black eagle and the swallow-tailed bee-eater.
Those in search of a little more of a rush should try mountain biking around the park’s paths, full of exhilarating hills, bumps and turns. Pack a picnic, because you are sure to want to slow down and stop at some of the beautiful spots you pass. Real adrenaline lovers should even head to the Orange River itself to whizz down jaw-dropping grade two and three rapids. Alternatively, you could take an adventure-filled four-day canoe trip down the river.
Here, you will feel refreshed, at one with nature, and truly full of life.
White water raft along the Orange River
Incredible stargazing opportunities
Take a mesmerizing night safari