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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

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


Spare batteries



Clean socks



First aid kit




Water purification tablets

Tinned food

Energy bars

Dried fruit


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

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Michelle Sole is a safari and polar guide, wildlife photographer and blogger. As a child, Michelle always had a love and respect for nature, animals and the outdoors. She competed for Great Britain as an alpine ski racer for ten years, chasing winters around the world. On a family holiday to Africa in 2008, Michelle fell in love with elephants. In 2011 she moved to South Africa where she completed her studies to become a field guide and worked for five and a half years in the Waterberg Biosphere in South Africa. In 2017 Michelle spent a year backpacking around the globe, travelling from one national park to another. At the end of the year she spent three months guiding in Antarctica. She now divides her time between the African sun and the Antarctic ice, sharing with guests her passion for whales, birds and photography. 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 Travel