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Augrabies Falls NP: Advice

Augrabies, Kgalagadi, Mokala, Namaqua, |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld
maria77
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Geology Augrabies

Unread post by 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 post by 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 post by 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
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Forces of Nature

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

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

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Unread post by 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 post by 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 post by 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 post by DuQues » Wed Mar 01, 2006 4:06 pm

BB, three links for you: Augrabies fall

Height Volume
In volume Augrabies is on place 24....
Not posting much here anymore, but the photo's you can follow here There is plenty there.

Feel free to use any of these additional letters to correct the spelling of words found in the above post: a-e-t-n-d-i-o-s-m-l-u-y-h-c

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Unread post by DebM » Wed Mar 01, 2006 4:38 pm

I have a vague recollection from info that was posted on the notice board at Augrabies, that when in full flood the amount of water going over the falls is more than Niagara, which come in 6th, I think, for volume.

@ DB & LL, it was very loud & wet, due to the spray made be the vast quantity of water cascading over the falls.
We where also unable to cross the river to "do" the Black Rhino adventure, as it was unsafe for the boat, the river was flowing too fast, so instead of a quick trip in a boat, we when by road to the other side of the park. Does anyone know if this activity still happens, it's not listed amongst the activities for the park and I think it was the only way you could visit the area on the opposite side of the river. I'm sure
last time we went to the park it was still on their activities board but that was a few years ago.
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Unread post by BunduBoi » Wed Mar 01, 2006 4:50 pm

Also what is the size of the park since its last expansion?

In october it was announced that it would be expanded by 32 000 ha, which would bring the total to 78 000 ha. Or was the 46 000 ha the amount it came to after the expansion?
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Unread post by reinette » Wed Sep 06, 2006 5:25 pm

Just look how they improved the walk way from '96 to '06

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If I think how the pictures looks at reception, it seems as if '96 flood was even bigger than '06.
Sandy, do you have any info regading this?

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Unread post by GVIAugrabies » Fri Sep 08, 2006 9:33 pm

The gentleman who provides the water level readings was not in the office when I called about this, so I visited the DWAF website myself to see what I could find out. The figures I'm going to discuss do not directly correlate to the actual water level readings, but they do indicate general levels.\

On March 8th of this year, we hit 1,691 cumecs - the highest level in four years. And then, on April 5th, we hit 1,983 cumecs! Talk about spectacular! But after looking up the other years, that was nothing...

For the two readings from this year, the data I got from the website showed slightly lower levels than DWAF actually gave me: March - 1,430 cumecs and April - 1,851 cumecs. Four years before that, the websited listed the following levels (I take it to mean that the actual readings were higher than these numbers) for the last several years that had high water levels: 9Feb2002 - 1,716; 8Dec2001 - 1,743; 24Feb2000 - 1,788. And now compare those to the following readings: 7Jun1997 - 2,427 and 1Mar1996 - 2,339!

Reinette, it definitely looks like the water levels in 1996 AND 1997 got much higher than what we've had so far this year. I'll call DWAF on Monday to confirm that and see if I can get the actual readings for those years. Plus, I'm going to start a new topic to discuss the new walkway system at the park.
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Justin Mackenzie
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Unread post by Justin Mackenzie » Sat Sep 09, 2006 8:08 am

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Unread post by reinette » Mon Sep 11, 2006 3:43 pm

Sandy, what is the name of those beautiful colorful lizards you have in the park?

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Unread post by reinette » Mon Sep 11, 2006 3:52 pm

Report of our second stay at Augrabies, August 2006, here.


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