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I found gold at the end of the Rainbow

Tell us about your breathtaking experiences in the parks

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DinkyBird
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I found gold at the end of the Rainbow

Unread postby DinkyBird » Mon May 04, 2009 8:42 pm

A man I have the utmost respect for, at the most historic time in our history, called the people of the New South Africa, the Rainbow Nation.

This Rainbow Nation has the privilege of living in a land of immense diverse natural beauty, and charged with the preservation and custody of this natural heritage is the South African National Parks.

SANParks takes care of all the many and various colours that make up the Rainbow of the natural wonders of South Africa and yesterday I stumbled across gold at one end of that Rainbow.

Tucked in a far away, remote corner of South Africa, is the Augrabies Falls National Park.

It was almost a year ago, that it was recommend to me that I should attend the HR Indaba at Kgalagadi to be held this month. Bookings were made, and our trip planned. At the last minute, we decide to do the extra 150km to Augrabies. After all we do not visit this part of the country often, so we thought that we might as well spend a night at Augrabies and see what it is all about.

I had no expectations. And I certainly never expected to find the most amazing, albeit different, landscape. I am at a complete loss for words to describe it.

Hawk has the gift for words, and I hope he will share the beauty of the red rocks and gorge with you.

I spent ages and ages in awe watching 194000 litres per second of water cascading down the falls. One can only reflect of what a small part of this country, let alone the earth, we humans are.

A small, common, laughing dove, flew to and fro across the gorge over the falls that no man would dare to cross. A tiny lizard crept within centimetres of the torrent. Men slip and fall to their deaths there.

Where does this water come from ... the highlands in Lesotho. For many 100s of kms it forces its way to the ocean. Tapped off along the way by a huge man made dam, and the many farms along the river bed. What amount of water would fall down here below if it were not for man.

How many years had it taken for this mighty force to cut this gorge.

Watching the sun create a sparkling rainbow in the mist created by the falls, I knew that I will return to Augrabies, and spend a while there. I need to.
Sawubona
Dalene

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Re: I found gold at the end of the Rainbow

Unread postby DinkyBird » Mon May 04, 2009 8:48 pm

Hi all!

We are now at KTP. It is perfect here. But with a very slow connection. The camp is full, and so quiet and peaceful.

Please tell Bert that Mr Augrabies Baboon sends regards and told me he has never ventured into a chalet since his meeting with Bert. He has resigned himself to the dirt bins in the day visitors area!!

G'Night all for Kgalagadi.
Sawubona
Dalene

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Re: I found gold at the end of the Rainbow

Unread postby DinkyBird » Mon May 11, 2009 10:34 pm

Thank you so much everyone!

We are home safe and sound and I am sorting some pics to share with you all.

We really did have an awesome time in both Augrabies and KTNP and then a quick sneak past MZNP too :D

Foxy - with the distances Hawk has just driven, I will allow him a reprieve from the cellar for a few days :twisted:
Sawubona
Dalene

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Re: I found gold at the end of the Rainbow

Unread postby DinkyBird » Tue May 12, 2009 10:39 pm

“Don't miss all the beautiful colors of the rainbow looking for that pot of gold.”

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Not being blessed with the creative talent of being able to pass on my emotions when I see natural splendour around me, nor with a talent of being able to capture the scene on my camera that will do justice to its beauty, I would like to urge you all to go and see Augrabies for yourselves to be able to fully appreciate what I am trying to convey here.

We left home very early to start our journey to the most north west corner of SA. The long drive through the great Karoo was most special. The Karoo is green at present, with pools of water from recent rains all about. A good and very quiet road made sure we started to relax from the word go.

The Orange (Gariep) River really caught my attention. Perhaps because there are embedded memories of learning about it at school. It is the longest river in SA (2200km) and forms part of international borders and provincial borders.

We spent our first night camping right on the river's banks on a sheep farm in a small village in the Karoo. The next morning was a bit of a shock – we were not equipped for how cold it would be!

As I mentioned earlier, visiting Augrabies Falls National Park was almost an afterthought.

Over the years my appreciation for stark and arid landscapes has really grown. I was not prepared for the wave of emotions when I entered this National Park. The rock formations are beautiful and between them, the lighting, the endless blue sky and the background sound of rushing water, I found one of the most peaceful places I had yet to discover. I could just gaze around me in total awe, totally absorbed in the spirit of the place.

We stood looking out over the gorge and the falls until we could see no more as the sun had slowly slipped behind the distant mountains.

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Sawubona
Dalene

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Re: I found gold at the end of the Rainbow

Unread postby DinkyBird » Tue May 12, 2009 10:44 pm

On the more practical side of the visit; when we arrived at the park gate (after missing the turn off! which when I said to reception that they really should mark the directions better, was told we were only one of about 3 folk who 'got lost' :roll: ) we were met by a big burly and very serious security guard. He took all our particulars.

The camping area and entire Park was very quiet - and really neat and clean. I understood why after reading the pamphlet we were issued with when booking in ... call the guard at the gate if ANY of the park rules are broken :shock: Well, no one was going to risk having to explain anything to that gate guard let me tell you!
Sawubona
Dalene

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Re: I found gold at the end of the Rainbow

Unread postby DinkyBird » Sun May 17, 2009 4:41 pm

Thank you all for your really kind comments.

I would think most folk looking at the gorge at Augrabies would be well aware that they need to keep good balance on firm footing and not try any gymnastics ... especially if it is wet. But I daresay, these signs do drive home the need to be careful and to stay within the walkway areas which do have balustrades.
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As in many National Parks, there were notices asking visitors not to feed the baboons, and one I have not seen before - a notice asking for tolerance towards Black Flies. These insects need fast flowing water to breed, so will be found here during the summer months. Some creatures really do like to live in the fast lane :shock:
Sawubona
Dalene

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Re: I found gold at the end of the Rainbow

Unread postby DinkyBird » Sun May 17, 2009 5:54 pm

It was totally impossible to capture the 55m drop of the falls in one photo. Here are my humble attempts to record the spectacular Augrabies Falls.

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Augrabies landscape
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Kokerboom/Quiver tree
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And to end off the first part of our trip a video from Hawk:

[video]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xu5ZIGIFNn4[/video]
Sawubona
Dalene


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