Below is a list of all things to do within the Green Kalahari region:
Known as “the place of great noise”, Augrabies is home to South Africa’s largest waterfall that tumbles some 56m into an 18km gorge on the Orange River. The falls are at their best towards the end of the summer rainfall season when the river is at its fullest (March/April). The area is also known for its dramatic, rocky desert scenery featuring landmark outcrops such as Moon Rock, and viewsites of the river gorge at Ararat and Echo Corner.
One of the largest conservation areas in Africa and a jewel in the crown of South Africa’s national parks, the Kgalagadi offers visitors the chance to experience the beauty of the Kalahari where lions still roam free and the majestic oryx can be photographed against a backdrop of red dunes and sweeping grassland. Many wildlife photographers regard a visit to the Kgalagadi as an apex experience.
A surprising sight awaits those who make the long trek to this settlement on the northern bank of the Orange River close to Augrabies where a hot spring can be found in a deep ravine surrounded by soaring granite cliffs. The Riemvasmaak community has endured, even though they were forcibly removed from this area under apartheid. In recent years, Riemvasmaakers have returned to make a living in this stark and inhospitable land and those who visit will be awed by the lunar landscape that they will encounter here.
The commercial centre of this part of the Northern Cape, Upington is the best place to stock up on supplies if you are heading to the Kgalagadi. This large, modern town has all the conveniences you would ordinarily expect, including an airport (with daily links to Johannesburg and Cape Town), supermarkets, banking facilities, three hospitals and restaurants.
The closest settlement to Kanoneiland is the little river town of Keimoes located along the winding path of the river that splits into several streams here, making it a true oasis in the desert. Look out for the historic paddle waterwheel that was used to irrigate the vineyards and fruit trees alongside the river.
The Kokerboom Food and Wine Route is a tourism route that highlights some of the attractions that can be found along this stretch of the river, including adventure activities, places to stay, eat and sights to see.
Photograph quiver trees
One of the most striking features of the area are large stands of quiver trees, a type of aloe with hollow branches that were once used by the bushmen as quivers to store their arrows. The tree, known as a kokerboom in Afrikaans, makes for great photographs in contrast to the stark rocky landscape of this area. An excellent place to see quiver trees is to drive the R359 between Keimoes and Kakamas. It’s a gravel road, so be sure that your vehicle is up to the challenge.
With all the vineyards around, it stands to reason that there should be some fruits of the vine to taste. Visitors can do wine tasting at the Orange River Wine Cellar, Die Mas Wine Cellar and the Bezalel Wine & Brandy Estate.
With the mighty Orange River as their playground Kalahari Outventures offers a range of activities from river rafting through to flyfishing. A half-day “river rush” along a 9km stretch of river above Augrabies is a great way to experience grade 2 and 3 rapids and the surrounding countryside.
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