Airlink

Hiking in Augrabies Falls National Park

The Augrabies Falls National Park or “Place of the Great Noise” is a 55,000 hectare protected area surrounding the Orange River. The river divides itself into a number of channels before thundering down a 56m high waterfall and then continuing down an 18km gorge. As well as magnificent scenery, the park boasts a variety of flora and fauna.

orange river gorge augrabies

©Michelle Sole

One of the best ways to explore this area is on foot. There are several hiking trails ranging from a few hours to three days. The Klipspringer Trail is great for fit individuals who want to get off the beaten track and away from civilisation for a couple of days. The hike is a total of 39.5km and takes three days. It is open from 1st April to 14th October and it is only open to a maximum of 12 hikers at a time.

klipspringer trail 1

©Michelle Sole

klipspringer-map

Accommodation each night is in a rustic hut with an outside toilet. Triple bunk beds are a welcome sight after a day of walking. You are back to basics here with no electricity or shower, but this hardly seems to matter when you lie back and relax next to a crackling fire under the stunning night sky. Firewood and drinking water are provided at each hut, along with a braai grid and a poijie pot.

rustic hut klipspringer trail

©Michelle Sole

Orange River

©Michelle Sole

The first day hike is 14km long and begins at the reception area and skims around the edge of the gorge, ending at Visarent Hut (Fish Eagle Hut). Day two, although only 13km long, is the most demanding. There is a fair amount of boulder hopping involved in dropping down into the gorge.Once at the bottom you will not be disappointed. The trail follows the Orange River for eight kilometres. You are completely alone inside a magnificent gorge with only the occasional pair of klipspringers and troop of baboons watching you from their high vantage point. On the second evening you sleep over in the Berg Hut (Mountain Hut).

orange river gorge

©Michelle Sole

The third day is 12.5km and is the least demanding (possibly because you are dreaming of the warm shower waiting for you back at camp). You cross over the Swart Rante (Black Ridges), huge black igneous jagged rocks, and then meet up with the Dassie walking trail . Don’t miss the climb up Moon Rock; a massive exfoliation dome shaped rock which offers some of the best views around.

dassie klipspringer trail

©Michelle Sole

black ridges augrabies fall

©Michelle Sole

Some hints

– Start walking early in the morning as it heats up quickly, particularly down in the gorge where temperatures can reach mid 30s in May.

– Carry at least three litres of water with you.

– Bring a swimsuit and towel – there is nothing like cooling off in the Orange River.

– Make sure you sign in and out with reception as you depart/arrive so that the Park’s Board know where you are and when to expect you back.

What to bring

Sleeping bag

Torch

Spare batteries

Matches

Cutlery

Clean socks

Cap

Sunglasses

First aid kit

Camera

Phone

Map

Water purification tablets

Tinned food

Energy bars

Dried fruit

Muesli

The trail books up quickly so it is important to book in advance! The Klipspringer Trail can be booked with SANParks Central Reservations at +27 (0)12 428 9111, faxing a request to +27 (0)12 343 0905, or emailing reservations@sanparks.org.



Michelle Sole

Michelle Sole is a safari guide and wildlife photographer in South Africa. Michelle was born in England and raised between England and Andorra and as a result she was educated in English, Spanish, Catalan and French. Michelle competed for Great Britain as an alpine ski racer for ten years, chasing winters around the world. As a child Michelle always had a love and respect for nature and animals and after a family holiday to Africa in 2008 she fell in love with elephants and found her calling (and summer!). In 2011 she moved to South Africa and completed her studies to be a field guide. She currently works as a field guide within the Marakele National Park in the Waterberg mountains, South Africa. In Michelle’s time off she explores the wilds of Southern Africa, camera in tow. Her thrill for adventure, the outdoors and adrenaline are at the core of her photography and writing. Follow her on Facebook or Instagram.

Africa Geographic