Near the small town of Kakamas, approximately 120km from Upington in the Northern Cape of South Africa lays the Augrabies Falls National Park. The most famous feature of the park is the thundering 56m drop of the Orange River. However, this 55 383 hectare park is worth a visit for much more than just the waterfall.
When you venture deeper, you can explore more of this picturesque landscape with its silhouetted quiver trees. Names such as Moon Rock, Swart Rante, Ararat, Oranjekom and Echo Corner epitomise the famous formations in the park and the viewpoints offer spectacular views and photo opportunities. Along the way you may come across the wild residents calling the park home.
Once you have seen these spectacular sites and ticked the game from your list, go for a hike. There are many options to choose from ranging from 5km walks to something longer and challenging. You are even allowed to pack your mountain bike, permitted that you stay on tourist roads. The park also offers guided game drives.
The nearest airport is situated in Upington, which is 125km from the park. Car rental facilities are available.
Wildlife around the waterfall include the rock hyrax (dassie) basking in the sun, and the famous Augrabies flat lizard with its bright colours. Take a drive and search for springbok, gemsbok, kudu and zebra. The Giraffe occurring in the park is much lighter in colour than those found elsewhere in South Africa. Augrabies Falls is also home to the endangered Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra. The largest predator in the park is the Leopard, but it is rarely seen.
Twitchers can look out for a wide variety of species. Gigantic nests cover telephone poles and large trees. These belong to Sociable Weavers and hundreds can live communally in a single nest. There are Verreaux’s eagles breeding in the park.
The park falls within the arid Northern Cape, a region known for its extreme weather conditions. In peak summer times (January/February) temperatures can be as high as 41 degrees Celsius. Temperatures of 46 degrees Celsius have been recorded before. The park is rocky, so this can aggravate temperatures further. Summer nights will be around 25 degrees Celsius.
Winter daytime temperatures generally hover around 20 degrees Celsius, but evenings can drop below 0 degrees. Rainfall between November and April averages 124mm per year. Winter rains are gentle and can transform the landscape. There is no malaria in the park.
Apart from visiting the waterfall and surrounding viewpoints along the boardwalk, take a drive in the park and explore the different viewpoints throughout the park. There are also several hiking trails to enjoy. The park offers guided game drives.
As overnight options, you can choose between a chalet, family chalet or camping. This is ideal for people that want to spend more time in this beautiful setting and a nearby restaurant in the rest camp offer dining options for guests that opt not to cater for themselves. The ultimate overnight option is the Oranjekom Gorge cottage, situated underneath the gorge viewpoint with splendid views over the gorge. This unit is not in the main rest camp.