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Augrabies Falls
Northern Cape, South Africa
Earth's Natural Wonders in Africa
 
Total height 183 feet (56 m)
Average width 80 feet (24 m)
Average flow rate 11,050 cubic feet (313 m3)
 
 Augrabies Falls Slideshow

 The falls are a series of separately channeled cataracts and rapids on the Orange River in arid Northern Cape province, South Africa. The falls, which form the central feature of Augrabies Falls National Park (established in 1966), occur where the Orange River leaves a plateau formation of resistant granite.[2]

The 28 000 hectares on both the northern and southern sides of the Orange River provide sanctuary to a diversity of species, from the very smallest succulents, birds and reptiles to springbok, gemsbok and the endangered black rhino.

Coordinates: 28° 35' 29 S, 20° 20' 27 E
Augrabies Falls[1]

 

The Augrabies Falls (AWE-XRAH-BEES, where X is the sound of the ch in 'Loch') is a waterfall on the Orange River, South Africa, within the Augrabies Falls National Park. The falls are around 60m in height. The original Khoikhoi residents named the waterfall Ankoerebis, "place of big noises", from which the Trek Boers, who settled here later on, derived the name Augrabies.

The falls have recorded 7,800 cubic metres (280,000 cu ft) of water every second in floods in 1988 (and 6,800 cubic metres (240,000 cu ft) in the floods of 2006). This is over three times the average high season flow rate of Niagara Falls of 2,400 cubic metres (85,000 cu ft) per second, more than four times Niagara's annual average, and greater than Niagara's all time record of 6,800 cubic metres (240,000 cu ft) per second.

The gorge at the Augrabies Falls is 240 m deep and 18 km long, and is an impressive example of granite erosion.[3]

Augrabies Falls National Park is a national park located around the Augrabies Falls, about 120 km west of Upington in the Northern Cape Province, South Africa. It was established in 1966.

The Augrabies Falls National Park covers an area of 820 km² and stretches along the Orange River. The area is very arid. The waterfall is about 60 metres high and is awe-inspiring when the river is in flood. The gorge below the falls averages about 240 m deep and runs for 18 kilometres. The gorge provides an impressive example of erosion into a granitic basement.

The original Hottentot people named the waterfall Ankoerebis, meaning the "place of big noises". The Trekboers who later settled in the area derived the name Augrabies. The name is sometimes spelt Aughrabies. An authentic pronunciation is impossible for most English speakers.

There are many deposits of alluvial diamonds along the Orange River and legend has it that the biggest cache of diamonds in the world lies in the swirl-hole eroded into the granite at the foot of the waterfall by the thundering waters.

The most characteristic plant in the park is the giant aloe (Aloe dichotoma) known locally as the quiver tree or kokerboom. It is perfectly adapted to the dry semi-desert rocky areas found in the Nama-Karoo, able to withstand the extreme temperatures and the infertile soil. This tree, which grows up to five metres high, gets its name from the fact that the Bushmen (San) used the soft branches to make quivers for their arrows. The eye-catching silhouette of the quiver tree is typical of this part of Northern Cape landscape. When the tree flowers in the winter flocks of birds are attracted to their copious nectar, and baboons can be seen tearing the flowers apart to get the sweet liquor. [4]

 

drmidix
June 23, 2006

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References
 
1. Wikipedia Commons-Augrabies Falls-Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License-retrieved 9/24/2009
2. "Augrabies Falls." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica 2009 Deluxe Edition. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, 2009.
 3.Wikipedia-Augrabies Falls-retrieved 9/24/2009
 4. Wikipedia-Augrabies Falls National Park--retrieved 9/24/2009
 
 Wikipedia  text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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