Upington and Augrabies Falls National Park
In the Southern Kalahari lies the oasis town of Upington. This town is irrigated by the water of the mighty Orange River that cuts through the arid landscape. This is made possible by the almost 300 kilometre strip of vineyards and orchards set surprisingly in the heart of the baking land.
Upington developed from a missionary station, founded here in 1871 and today is the commercial centre of the northern region and the gateway to the Kalahari desert. For travellers to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Upington is the last opportunity to shop at well stocked supermarkets, eat out in a restaurant, see a movie or do your banking.
Summer temperatures in Upington frequently exceed 40 °C
Augrabies Falls National Park
A few kilometres outside Upington, the waters of the Orange River plunge over 56 metres to boil in the bottom of a rocky river gorge at Augrabies Falls. The thundering noise of cascading water led the original Khoi residents to believe that it was the home of evil spirits, and they named the waterfall Ankoerebis, "place of big noise", from which the current name, Augrabies is derived.
When the river is in flood the noise and spray are an awe-inspiring sight, visible from several kilometres away. The falls are one of the six largest in the world, when in flood there are 19 separate falls pouring more water per second than the Victoria Falls.
When visiting Augrabies Falls we suggest that you obey the safety instructions, as over the years a number of foolhardy visitors have climbed over the safety barriers for a closer look - several never to be seen again.
The park is also home to a unique desert flora and many animal species, including springbok, gemsbok, giraffe and black rhino.
S.A National Parks: www.sanparks.org/parks/augrabies/