The Orange River

The Orange River isn’t as well-celebrated as some of the other great African rivers, but as the longest within South Africa it is worth some attention. Our first week was spent on the banks of this river, overlooking a watercourse at least one hundred meters wide. Our second week was spent within earshot of the same water funneling through a granite channel no more than the width of a swimming pool. The resulting waterfall is quite a sight, in quite the setting.

Augrabies Falls (and if you’re not South African, you’re almost certainly pronouncing that incorrectly) was a pretty impressive spectacle when we were in town. However, had we been here a month earlier – immediately after some particularly heavy rains – we would have seen something considerably more spectacular. Had we been here in 1988 or 2011, we would have seen Mother Nature at her most devastatingly awesome, and it is worth a google search of these flood years to see just how volatile this river can be.

The setting for all this has been the Northern Cape, which is the least densely populated of South Africa’s nine provinces. There isn’t much unnatural noise or light pollution in this part of the world and the people we have encountered along the way have been overwhelmingly hospitable. Without trying, this leg has delivered some easy camping spots, some excellent day hikes and plentiful peaceful evenings. It has been a rather pleasant few weeks really.

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