Augrabies Falls National Park is one of the arid area parks in the Northern Cape region of South Africa, some 120km west of Upington. The park follows the Orange river which flows through a rocky gorge in an otherwise arid area.
We visited the park for a couple of nights on our way to Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park – as a means of acclimatising ourselves before the longer adventure there.
Unfortunately, the water levels were low, but the falls were still good and we were able to have a good sunset too. Flooding is an occasional hazard as the water in the Orange is largely managed by dams upstream; the last major flooding occurred in 2011.
Thinking that all we would see was a river in a gorge, I was very pleasantly surprised with the interest found at this place – both rocks and fauna in addition to the riverscape.
The geology of the park is interesting with several different rock types. The predominant rock is a form of granite based on Quartz and Feldspar which can reveal folded patterns. There are some blacker ridges on the edge which are igneous in origin and lacking in quartz. This surface of this latter rock can become hardened into a varnished such as we found on Moon Ridge. Finally, the weathering patterns on the rock produces interesting shapes.
Not being in a main game area, we were able to walk a short trail (the Dassie Trail – 8.5km) along the gorge onto Moon Ridge and back to the camp. As well as the interesting rock formations, the walk was also punctuated with wildlife sightings – notably Baboons, vervet monkeys and Klipspringers.
We took a drive around part of the park in the evening and saw different views of the gorge as well as zebras and giraffe against the evening sky.
Although not photographed, we also saw a Small Spotted Genet at our chalet trying to steal some of the braai! and patterned rock lizards climbing the walls.
This park is well worth a visit.