The Mighty Orange River (Afrikaans/Dutch: Oranjerivier), Gariep River, Groote River or Senqu River is the longest river in South Africa. It rises in the Drakensberg mountains in Lesotho, flowing westwards through South Africa to the Atlantic Ocean.
The river forms part of the international borders between South Africa and Namibia and between South Africa and Lesotho, as well as several provincial borders within South Africa. Except for Upington, it does not pass through any major cities. The Orange River plays an important role in the South African economy by providing water for irrigation, as well as hydroelectric power. The river was named by Robert Jacob Gordon after the Dutch Royal House.
Twitchers you are in for a treat! Upington and its surrounds offer a variety of birds of which 20 raptor species are present.
The Orange River has a relative paucity of species diversity. A 2011 survey of 13,762 fish found only 16 species of fish present. Three of these, thecommon carp, the Mozambique tilapia and the western mosquitofish are non-indigenous.
Another exotic species, rainbow trout, is found in the river headwaters in Lesotho. The Orange River has no large animals. It lies outside the range of the Nile crocodile, and although hippopotami were once abundant, they were hunted to extermination in the 1800s
The pecan nut industry has its roots in Mpumalanga and KZN, but the core of the South African pecan industry today is north of the Orange River in the Vaalharts area, Hartswater, Prieska, Upington and Orania.
Irrigation schemes provide much needed water in these naturally dry, hot areas. Visit the nearby pecan nut forest just 100m from our establishment.
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.
Sakkie se Arkie is a floating bar and take you on a two hour cruise on the Mighty Orange River.
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 view sites of the river gorge at Ararat and Echo Corner. Hiking Trails like the Dassie Trail and Klipspringer Hiking Trail is popular.
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, restaurants and two hospitals. Come enjoy all the Upington Attractions there is to offer.
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.
The San people (or Saan), also known as Bushmen or Basarwa, are members of various indigenous hunter-gatherer people ofSouthern Africa, whose territories span Botswana, Namibia, Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa.
From the 1950s through the 1990s, the San switched to farming because of government-mandated modernisation programs. Despite the lifestyle changes, they have provided a wealth of information in anthropology and genetics. One broad study of African genetic diversity completed in 2009 found that the San were among the five populations with the highest measured levels of genetic diversity among the 121 distinct African populations sampled. The San are one of 14 known extant “ancestral population clusters,” that is, “groups of populations with common genetic ancestry, who share ethnicity and similarities in both their culture and the properties of their languages.”
Namaqualand is quite popular with both local and international tourists during early springtime, when for a short period this normally arid area becomes covered with a kaleidoscope of colour during the flowering season. This is known throughout South Africa as the Namaqualand daisy season, when orange and white daisies, as well as hundreds of other flowering species, spring up from a previously barren landscape. A part of Little Namaqualand, known as the Richtersveld, is a national park and a World Heritage Site, while the often-visited Namaqua National Park and the Goegap Nature Reserve are located short distances from Kamieskroon and Springbok, respectively.
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