Augrabies Falls National Park

This national park takes its name appropriately from the ancient Khoi word “Aukoerebis”, meaning “Place of Great Noise”. It is here that the Augrabies Falls, which although only 56 metres high, morphs into a raging giant during floods of the Orange River, when the waters carve their way through the 18km gorge. Size: 55 383 hectares. Situated in the arid north-west of South Africa, the nearest large town being Upington.


Blog posts

YITW 2013-14 – Augrabies Falls National Park

I'm in Augrabies Falls National Park now, which is still very much in the Kalahari region, although not in the typical sandy dunes that typifies much of this immense geological feature in Africa. The heat here at Augrabies seems more intense than in the dunes further north, because of the huge amount of granite rock in the area. It absorbs the enormous amount of sunlight and heat and reflects it back like the devil's personal pizza oven being used at full capacity on a particularly hungry night in hell.

I think the scenery is among the best in the country. Nothing in SA looks similar to it. And although the main falls are quite impressive, plunging 56 metres down into a plunge pool that is over 150 metres deep, I still think that Arrow Point and Twin Falls are more interesting. All Read more »

Augrabies Falls in flood…

At the moment, the Gariep River is at a normal level for this time of year. But when the upcountry thunderstorms arrive, the river morphs into an angry serpent. And the Augrabies Falls transform into a raging quagmire. Here are some photos from the information board at the reception area. The photos are taken by several different photographers. As you can see, you don't want to be on the boardwalks when the flooding starts...

The big flood of 1988 delivered a wopping 7 800 cubic metres of water per second. (That's  7 800 tons of very heavy water flowing EVERY second over the falls). This year, the flooding was "reasonable" - a mere 4 779 cumecs. Interestingly, and somewhat frighteningly, scientists have predicted that once every 200 years, a flood of 17 800 cumecs will arrive...not Read more »

Place of Great Noise

From a place of great silence - the Kgalagadi - we've now travelled on to Augrabies, the 'noise-making place' (Aukoerebis), as named by the local Nama people. Here, the Gariep River (or Orange) falls 91 metres, carving out a massive 18km canyon in the granite geology. Although it's loud, and you can hear the falls from a few kilometres away (during floods, apparently the sound carries 40km), it's not noisy in a negative sense - in fact, Gareth and I are really enjoying being close to water again. And hearing the rumble of crashing H2O. We both come from Cape Town, and the sound of the sea makes us happy - the falling water at Augrabies National Park sounds like waves crashing...wonderful!

It's quite something to see. The entire flow of the Orange River - the great South African Read more »