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Home >>International Wildlife >> Wildlife in South Africa >> Augrabies Falls National Park
 

Augrabies Falls National Park

 
The Augrabies waterfall roars like only a fifty-six meter waterfall at full strength can.
When the Orange River is full the sound of the waterfall is deafening. The Khoi-khoi name for the falls was “Aukoerebis” which roughly means Place of Great Noise.

The rocky landscape which is characteristic of the area has an eighteen kilometer gorge cut into it by the Orange River, feeding the famous Augrabies Falls. Indigenous trees like the Kokerboom stand as isolated individuals in stark contrast to the rocky ground and wide open African skyline. The wildlife which inhabits this environment does so only through battling the elements over generations, resulting in the survival of only the fittest.

From tiny succulents and small reptiles to birds, buck and giraffe, Augrabies Falls National Park hosts a wide variety of wildlife and species within more than fifty-five hectares of ground. You can see Springbok, Gemsbok, Klipspringer, Black Storks, Pygmy Falcons and much more on a visit to this beautiful destination.

An Augrabies Folk Story
There is a story passed down from the Bushmen of the region about a snakelike creature with scales that shines in the moonlight which falls upon the Gariep River. This long serpent lives in the river. Though the serpent is known to capture men and pull them deep deep down beneath the waterfall's froth where she will dine on their limbs, the bushmen dream of capturing the serpent's treasure.

Her treasure is a beautiful diamond which she wears on her head, and it is believed that if you capture this treasure you will have happiness and success for the rest of your life. Unfortunately it is the sparkling diamond which the serpent uses to mesmerize her victims.

One day, however, the serpent removes her beautiful jewel and hides it in the reeds while she eats her breakfast. A young man sees this, and carefully while the serpent is not looking he steels the diamond. Quickly he runs away and sure enough his life becomes a dream.

There was one thing, however, that was to spoil the happiness of the young man. When the moon was full and reflected off the shimmering scales of the serpent, the young man could hear her sorrowful weeping in the gentle night breeze.

The serpent asked all the creatures she met if they had seen her jewel, and one day an otter told her that a two legged yellow creature had taken the gem. Luckily for the young thief, however, a spring hare informed him that the serpent was onto his trail.

The young man thought about the situation, and decided to go hide the gem where the serpent had hid it originally, in the reeds. Then when the serpent came to the bushmen, and demanded to know where her jewel was, with fire in her mouth and fury in her eyes, the young man stood up and said, "I will help you look for your jewel."

He took her down to the river and pointed it out in the reeds, saying, "See, you should have looked a bit harder!" The serpent was happy again and the rest of the bushmen thought the young man was extraordinarily brave. They awarded him with a title and gifts.

If you are lucky, and look carefully, you may still be able to see the shimmering creature under the full moon light in the waters of the Gariep.