1 Best Sight in Augrabies Falls National Park, The Northern Cape

Augrabies Falls National Park

Fodor's choice

South Africa's largest falls by volume of water, Augrabies plunges 653 feet over terraces and into an 18 km (11 miles) long gorge, which was carved into smooth granite over millions of years. It is strangely otherworldly, mesmerizing to behold. Legend has it that an unplumbed hole beneath the main falls is filled with diamonds washed downriver over millennia and trapped there.

You can hike in the park for an hour or several days, and you don't need a guide. Markers will direct you along routes that range from the short Dassie Nature Trail to the three-day Klipspringer Hiking Trail. You can also drive to the park's beautiful, well-appointed lookout points showcasing the gorge below the falls; scenic stops are highlighted on the maps provided with your entry permit. All are easily accessible and well marked. Unfenced Ararat provides the best views. Oranjekom, which is fenced and has a shaded hut, is particularly welcome in the blistering summer heat. The Swartrante lookout offers a view over rugged, barren areas of the park. Some areas suggest that you've arrived on another planet; others might evoke the Arizona Badlands.

If you have a 4x4, you can spend a good six hours following the 94-km (60-mile) Wilderness Road into some of the reserve's most remote parts. Midway along it is a scenic picnic spot where there are toilets and a braai (barbecue) area.

Depending on how things are with the pandemic, you might have to undergo a quick COVID-19 screening at the main gate. The visitor center, with an information office, shop, and restaurant, is a few miles down the road; this is also where you'll pay entry fees and where boardwalks to the main falls viewing areas and the SANParks rest camp are situated.