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Orange (Gariep) River

The Orange River, with a length of 22 000 kilometres, is the longest river in South Africa. The river was named by VOC Colonel Robert Gordon in 1779 after the Dutch Prince of Orange. After the abolition of apartheid, the river became increasingly called the Gariep River by the South Africans which has traditionally the name that was given by the Nama on the river. In Lesotho, the river has the name Senque.

The river rises in the Drakensberg Mountains in Lesotho and then runs westward through South Africa and forms the natural border between South Africa and Namibia as the river empties into the Atlantic Ocean at Alexander Bay.

Despite the fact that the river does not pass through large cities, it does have a great influence on the economy. The river provides the water supply for a large part of agriculture along the route. Very important for this are two landscaped (thrust) dams: Gariep Dam and Vanderkloof Dam. These dams break in the rainy season (African summer months) and the water goes in the drier periods free. As a result, thousands of hectares of land in the Northern Cape that was previously too dry, is now suitable for agricultural activities. It also won the dams energy by the South African electricity company Eskom. Around Kimberley and near the mouth of the Orange won gold.

From the origins, the river with deep gorges means piece is quiet and has little height. Later, the flow is again stronger and larger elevations like the Augrabies waterfalls, is about 40 km from Kakamas in the Northern Cape. You can visit the Augrabies Falls National Park to see the spectacular waterfalls. Just before the falls, the river, together with a number of islands and of smaller flow channels, has a width of about three kilometres. If the water in the river is high, 405 million litres of water collapses there every second in the ravine, not only through the main channel but also using 18 smaller channels. This is the Augrabies Falls, the sixth largest waterfall in the world. Especially in the months following the rains (March - April), you can see the 56 meter waterfall tipping her glory down.

A fun way to really experience the river is by rafting or canoeing, this is for example from Upington in the Northern Cape province or Vioolsdrif on the border of South Africa and Namibia. You can take a trip of several hours or several days under the guidance of an experienced instructor. The road holds your eyes open for the many birds, beautiful scenery and locals catching fish from the river.

Your holiday begins at South Africa Specialist.