Augrabies, Green Kalahari

The little town of Augrabies that lies on the banks of the Orange River has been totally overshadowed by the Augrabies Falls National Park. Not only does it lie on the border of the park with which people assume it is synonymous, but very few people know that a town on the edge of the park that surrounds the renowned falls even exists.

Nearby towns have particularly idiosyncratic names like Kakamas, Keimoes and Kanoneiland, and, to put one in the picture, Augrabies is south west of Upington on the edge of the Kalahari desert – the huge sand basin that spans from the Orange River up to Angola.

Augrabies is surrounded, most uncharacteristically, by flourishing green vineyards, and the town is home predominantly to workers on the Orange River wine cellars, said to be the second largest co-operative wine cellar in the world.

Augrabies, accessible via the N14 after taking a turnoff about 8 kilometres outside of Kakamas, rather obviously takes its name from the booming falls – the Khoe word aukurabis means ‘the water that thunders’.

Clearly one of the major attractions of staying in Augrabies is the water that thunders down into the 18 kilometre abyss of the Orange River Gorge. Hiking along the edge of the gorge with truly magnificent views or longer hikes to Moon Rock and the Potholes are truly worth the effort, whilst the birdlife and characteristic quiver trees, rhino and antelope aside, make a visit here essential.

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