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Augrabies Falls NP: Advice

Augrabies, Kgalagadi, Mokala, Namaqua, |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld
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Wild@Heart
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Augrabies Falls NP: Advice

Unread postby Wild@Heart » Thu Jan 13, 2005 4:08 pm

Went on a chopper ride a few years ago when I was stil young. One of my best experiences as we flew up close to the fall.

Went to areas not reachable by foot where you could see the fish in natural ponds.

Although very hot, I enjoyed every moment of that trip. Would recommend anyone to go and visit at least once...make sure you see the rest of the West Coast as well.

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Geology Augrabies

Unread postby maria77 » Tue Apr 26, 2005 8:18 am

Can anyone help me out with the type of rocks at the Augrabies falls? We visited recently the falls, and saw some very particular kind of rock where it looked like little pieces/particles of "gold" which is shining from it. I would like to know what kind of rock it is, and also what it is that makes the little pieces shine within.

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Unread postby DuQues » Tue Apr 26, 2005 9:18 am

That could very well be so called "fools gold", or pyrite. that is an iron sulfide, sometimes containing small amounts of cobalt, nickel, silver and gold. Those last two (silver and gold) are in minute quantaties though.
Pyrite is great for making fires, but the the very oldfashioned way. When you strike flint with pyrite you get very good sparks, better than striking two bits of flint together.

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Augrabies Falls National Park

Unread postby Toddelelfe » Wed Sep 14, 2005 10:01 pm

Taken from IOL:
Exploring the place of great noise...

September 13 2005 at 12:54PM

By Brent Naude-Mosely

Augrabies Falls is one of those places we've all heard about, but because it is out there in the sticks it is not the kind of place you pop into as you happen to be passing by. You have to make a point of heading to this corner of the country - so we did.

Turning off the N14 eight kilometres west of Kakamas, which lies in the north-western reaches of the Northern Cape, the last 28km of tarred road to the park entrance runs parallel to the Orange River. The area is known for its fruit production and on this stretch you'll pass citrus orchards and various dried-fruit places such as The Raisin Company.

There are also a couple of settlements, Marchand and Augrabies, and, although they don't have much that will lure passers-by, it's worth stopping in at the nearby Brabeesmond Nursery.

Though at times a little overgrown, it sells a good range of plants and specialises in cacti and succulents. On the opposite side of the road is a Roman Catholic mission substantially built of rose quartz, the translucent pink stone you first see at the gate.

Once booked into the park, it's hard not to rush off straight away to see the falls. After all, this is the whole raison d'être for your visit, but remember that temperatures can be extreme in summer, so contain yourself until the cooler hours or you'll end up scorched.

Early mornings or late afternoons are the best sightseeing times - then the landscape cools to pastel pink - unless you're visiting in spring or autumn when the weather is usually perfect for wandering round at any time of day.

After a squiz at the tourist shop, which supplies most basic commodities, we checked into our overnight accommodation. The chalets are self-catering, or there's a large campsite, and visitors have the use of swimming pools to cool off in.

The reception centre has a coffee shop where you can loll about sipping cold beers, and there's an a la carte restaurant serves good food, although service can be slow.

The name "Augrabies" is derived from a Khoi word meaning "the place of great noise" and it's said that the Khoi, who had great respect for the falls, usually avoided the area because they believed it was the home of a great water monster. Which it is. Well ... not technically, but after good rain the mass of water that churns and bubbles could easily be likened to a writhing creature.

The falls mark the area where the Orange River changes from a slow-flowing, sandy-banked body of water into a fast-paced river that cuts through ancient granite. Braided channels come together and pound over rocks, crashing 56 metres into the ravine below before travelling downstream through an 18km gorge.

In wet years the Vaal - which joins the Orange at Douglas - and Orange rivers flood simultaneously, resulting in massive volumes of water. Normally the Orange flows at 50-70m3 per second but during floods this can increase more than a hundredfold, which it did in 1988 when it reached an incredible 7,8 million m3 per second.

You can stand for ages mesmerised by the movement and roar of the falls. Their energy seems to vibrate through your body, drawing you into the swirling mass far below, but fortunately there are good strong guard rails to prevent you from taking an involuntary swim.

Of course, there are those who'd like a dip in the ravine because it's said that the 130m-deep pool below the main falls holds a stupendous treasure of diamonds (they're just a tad inaccessible).

Augrabies Falls National Park was proclaimed in 1966, primarily for the falls, although the 48000-hectare park also protects many wildlife species, including 46 mammal and 186 bird species.

Often sighted are klipspringers, leaping surefooted from rock to rock on specially adapted hooves. Essentially, though, this is a scenic wilderness and if you spend time exploring you'll soon realise that the amazing landscape more than compensates for the lack of the Big Five so ubiquitous elsewhere.

We took the recently graded road to Moon Rock, a massive granite dome that visitors may climb for panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. The region had recently enjoyed plenty of rain and the distant mountains were covered in the green fuzz of new growth.

Wherever you drive in the park, you'll see granitic gneiss swelling out of the earth and the pleasing curves of hillocks all around: this is hard rock country without the music. In places the tawny roads snake through the rocks and it looks as if they might collide at any moment with the intensely blue sky.

As we pootled sedately along one of these routes, my husband jammed on the brakes, having spotted the small shrike-like pygmy falcon, which we'd previously seen on only a few occasions.

The diversity of birdlife in Augrabies, despite the dryness of the region, is attributed to the various habitats, which include riparian vegetation, acacia thickets, cliffs, gorges and arid rocky scrubland.

At Ararat view site we were privileged to see two black eagles gliding on thermals and at the same time hear the call of a fish eagle. Another great view site is Oranjekom and, as we pulled up, a couple of rock hyraxes, or dassies as they're commonly known, were engaged in such serious sun-worshipping that they hardly glanced in our direction.

A matter of metres from the car park, you look down onto the Orange River as it carves its way through the desert. There's something calming about being near an impressive body of water when you're in such a dry region. Perhaps it's the fact that even out here, in this harsh environment, Nature is reassuring us that there is an abundant supply of this life-giving substance.

Visitors to the park can now hire mountain bikes or canoes to do their sightseeing from, and in fact there's an eco-adventure - the Gariep 3-in-1 - run by the park which employs these and includes a hike.

For those spending several days, there are a couple of day trips that can be done with two local companies specialising in river rafting, abseiling and other adrenalin-boosting activities.

Khamkirri Private Game Reserve is situated along the Orange River, about 24km from the N14; and the Kalahari Adventure Centre is located 11km before you reach Augrabies Falls National Park. If you have a four-wheel drive, do at least one trail either in the park or out and you'll experience a landscape that really is wonderfully unspoilt and craggy.

For me, the end of a day in Augrabies Falls National Park is the best time, when the day's activities and excitement are over and you can sit back on the still-warm rocks and watch the sky separate into pale blue and pink.

Deep russet caresses the landscape, the rainbow-coloured flat lizards have retired, and the evening promises a full moon as the night chorus starts to chirrup.

This is the time to still your mind and tune everything around you out - everything, that is, except the distant roar of the Orange River as it journeys over the Augrabies Falls.

...
This article was originally published on page 10 of Saturday Star on September 09, 2005
:hmz: Thinking about the next trip :hmz:
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Unread postby lam » Mon Sep 26, 2005 4:00 pm

We thoroughly enjoyed Augrabies, even though we had a massive wind on the one afternoon we were there. I am from P.E., so if I say it was a big wind, understand that it really was big. Not quite Katrina size, but big.

We took shelter in the tent for a while, but the wind got worse, so we huddled in the landie for a while. Then we decided to close up our tent (it was on top of the landie in those days) and drive to the pub. We sat and watched the Curry Cup (final I think) on TV. This is not normally something I would do in a National Park.

Quite a few trees came down, including one just next to our fridge. Luckily it was a minor branch that thunked our fridge and trapped it and not the main trunk.

Next day, there were white-backed ducks in a pond there. They are not supposed to be anywhere near there, but I think they were blown of course. A few days later we saw a painted snipe near Mata Mata, I think the same had happened to it.

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Entrance to the Augrabies falls National Park

Unread postby Witlorrie » Sun Oct 23, 2005 8:23 am

As we plan to vissit the AFNP during our holiday but we will be doing so on our way back from our vissit from the the KTP and will thus be traveveling from Noenieput, Aream, Koortzensput and Naroegas. We intend on entering the park from the north via Deksel or Bok se puts. According to the 1:500 000 map there is roads from that direction and want to know if we are allowed to do it.

Any advice will be appreciated.

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Re: Entrance to the Augrabies falls National Park

Unread postby Nannie » Sun Nov 06, 2005 6:26 pm

The parks Web map shows only the Augrabies side,the other side is the Riemvasmaak, and that is the area you are wanting to enter into. Check your map if you want to get to Deksel via Sandvlei and Narougas you will see the road ends there.The Riemvasmaak tell no. that I have is 054 431 0945 I suggest you check with them beforehand. The roads you plan to travel, when I travelled them not so long ago, were worse than the Kgaligadi roads.

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Forces of Nature

Unread postby Nannie » Mon Jan 02, 2006 4:52 pm

Some rock formations we have noticed at Augrabies.
Image Image
Last edited by Nannie on Wed Jan 04, 2006 11:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postby LittleLeopard » Mon Jan 02, 2006 5:19 pm

And don't the rock dassies just love these rocks?

Augrabies is the only place I've ever seen caracal. Also enjoyed watching Black Eagles flying over the gorge.
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Unread postby Salva » Sun Jan 08, 2006 1:03 pm

I have been there once and really enjoyed it! I loved the klipspringer and the eland and we were also lucky enough to see cape fox on a night drive. I was most of all surprised by the landscapes and the different viewpoints over the Orange river!

It is a great place to combine with the Kgalagadi (and Namaqualand in spring of course).
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Unread postby BunduBoi » Tue Feb 28, 2006 4:27 pm

I hear that after all the pouring rain, the falls are FLOODING!

"The Augrabies Falls on the Orange River near Upington has been in full flood since the weekend after an apparent cloudburst in the Kenhardt area, Northern Cape SA National Parks (SanParks) authorities said on Tuesday.

Spokesperson Henriette Engelbrecht said the deluge apparently also led to the collapse of a farm dam, which flooded the area.

"A huge mass of water was noticed at the Alheit Bridge (30 kilometres) ahead of the Augrabies Falls National Park on Sunday. Vineyards in the area were covered by the water."

"Terrifying, spectacular whirlpool"

Engelbrecht said the falls, especially the main fall, had since become a "terrifying whirlpool" of water mass which was "actually spectacular".

It must be a helluva spectacular to see the World's sixth largest waterfall coming down in full flood
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Unread postby DebM » Wed Mar 01, 2006 12:53 pm

Photos of the falls from March '96, the water had subsided slightly

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It was an amazing sight and a little unnerving standing looking down into the swirling waters, even with the fencing.
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Unread postby LittleLeopard » Wed Mar 01, 2006 2:15 pm

Unbelievable pics Bouf! Like DB, I thought of the deafening sound the falls must have made at that time. No wonder they got the name Augrabies!

@BunduBoi ... Interesting. I never knew they were the sixth-largest falls in the world.
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Unread postby BunduBoi » Wed Mar 01, 2006 3:05 pm

Yep, we have the sixth largestwaterfall, and the second highest (tugela falls, in the drakenesberg) in the World
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Unread postby DuQues » Wed Mar 01, 2006 4:06 pm

BB, three links for you: Augrabies fall

Height Volume
In volume Augrabies is on place 24....
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