Augrabies Falls National Park is situated on the Orange River in the north of South Africa near the Namibia border. The name Augrabies was given to the Water Fall by a Swede, Hendrik Jakob Wikar, when he passed there in 1799.The Khoi people called it ‘Aukoerebis’, or place of Great Noise, as this powerful flow of water is unleashed from rocky surroundings characterised by the 18km abyss of the Orange River Gorge. The 55 383 hectares on both the northern and southern sides of the Orange River provide sanctuary to a diversity of species, from the very smallest succulents, birds and reptiles to Hartmann's mountain zebra, springbok, gemsbok and giraffe.
In 1954 the Upington Publicity Association requested the National Parks Board to proclaim the water fall a national park. After the Minister of Lands approved the Park in principle in 1955, the Department of Water Affairs objected to the proclamation of a national park. After a series of negotiations, Augrabies Falls National Park was eventually proclaimed on 5 August 1966. The park currently consists of 55 383 hectares.
As the Orange River approaches Augrabies Falls it divides itself into numerous channels before cascading down the 56 meter high waterfall. The sight and sound of the power of the water will not be easily forgotten. There are many wonderful views of the gorge at Oranjekom and Ararat.
A visit to Echo Corner is a must and do try it out. :)
The ancestors of modern history have inhabited the area surrounding the Orange River since the Early Stone Age. During this time, there is evidence that early man had developed weapons for hunting animal like hippopotamus. They knew to establish themselves near good water sources like the Orange River. During the Middle Stone Age man had created more formal work tools and began to utilise fire. The Late Stone Age, which dates back 22 000 years, is characterized by tools that are smaller from the previous periods. The most prolific archaeological features are the stone cairns or graves from the later Stone Age. Excavations have shown that not all the cairns contains human skeletal remains.
As there are no predators in the area, one is able to walk anywhere but there are also marked trails of various lengths to suite everyone. Some of the things to keep an eye out for are the lovely Augrabies Flat Lizards which are only found there, Rock Hyrax (dassies), Mountain zebra, Klipspringer and giraffe.
The Quiver tree is a highlight on the landscape as well as many wonderful succulents and plants. The quiver tree is perfectly adapted to the dry desert and semi-desert areas on the rocky hills, the extreme temperatures and the infertile soil. It grows three to five metres high. The tree gets its name from the fact that the San used the soft branches to make quivers for their arrows. The trees flower a canary-yellow in the winter. Swarms of birds and locusts are attracted to their copious nectar, and baboons tear the flowers apart to get the sweet liquor.
The Park has picnic facilities with ablutions, barbecue facilities and a swimming pool for day visitors, with shops and fuel available as well as a lovely restaurant.
Many delicacies unique to this area may be enjoyed here, like homegrown raisins and dried fruit. Traditional dishes like “puff adders” (named after the snake); are intestines with the fatty portion inward, stuffed with minced liver and skilpadje (tortoise) stomach net fat wrapped around a small piece of liver are always popular.
Accommodation: Caravan and camping sites are available in shaded areas, with communal kitchen, ablutions and laundry. There are various self-catering chalets all fully equipped including a kitchen. Some chalets have 2 beds and range in size to family chalets of two bedrooms. All chalets have bathrooms and barbecue facilities. They also cater for handicapped guests in special accommodation.