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.
Top: Augrabies Falls. Centre: Breathtaking view in the park. Left: Kokerboom tree and Orange River behind the precipice.
Augrabies Falls National Park
The Orange River drops 191 metres at the Augrabies Falls. The thundering cascade of water led the original Hottentot residents to believe that evil spirits were active here, and so they named the waterfall Ankoerebis, "place of big noises", from which the Trek Boers, who settled here later on, derived the name Augrabies.
Especially in late summer, when the river carries a lot of water, the roaring waters fully justify that name. New waterfalls then form at the sidewalls, and the air is filled with dense spraying fog. The gorge at the Augrabies Falls is 240 m deep and 18 km long. It is a most impressive example of granite erosion. When the whole landmass of the area lifted about 500 million years ago, the Orange River slowly started to dig its bed into the ground.