Few sights are as awesome or a sound as deafening as water thundering down the 56-m Augrabies Waterfall when the Orange River is in full flood. The Khoi people called it ‘Aukoerebis’, or place of Great Noise, as this powerful flow of water is unleashed from rocky surroundings characterized by the 18-km abyss of the Orange River Gorge.
The Augrabies Falls National Park, an hour from Upington, comprises an area of 820 sq km and stretches along the Orange River. The vegetation is suited to the arid desert climate. The Kokerboom, or Quiver Tree grow here. They are succulents and can store huge amounts of water in their stems and so survive long periods of drought. The park contains a game reserve with rhinos as the main attraction.
Picturesque names such as Moon Rock, Ararat and Echo Corner are descriptive of this rocky region. Klipspringer and kokerboom (quiver trees) stand in stark silhouette against the African sky, silent sentinels in a strangely unique environment where only those that are able to adapt ultimately survive.
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 springbok, gemsbok and giraffe.