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Klipspringer Hiking Trail, Augrabies National Park

The starkly beautiful 39.5km 3 day Klipspringer Hiking Trail in the Augrabies National Park in the Northern Cape offers panoramic views over the rocky and lunar-like landscape of the Park, game and reptile viewing, and also goes into the 18km long Orange River Gorge with its spectacular 56m waterfall.

The trail is circular, starting and ending at the Augrabies Rest Camp, which has self catering chalets, a swimming pool, restaurant and shop. This is the perfect place to prepare for the demands of the rigorous and hot hike, to stock up on plenty of water, go through checklists and swim in the pool. The overnights on the trail are huts with basic amenities, braai facilities and mattresses, and although a potjie pot and a cooking pot are available in each of the two huts, you need to take all other utensils, crockery, blankets and supplies. The maximum group size is 12.

The Klipspringer Trail is rated as moderate to strenuous, and is only open between April and October as it gets dangerously hot in the summer months. It is still warm to hot during the day in the winter, but night-time temps can drop well below freezing so be prepared. Take plenty of insect repellent as certain stages of the trail are notorious for swarms of ‘miggies’ (black flies) in April and September, and look out for snakes en-route – in particular the highly venomous black spitting cobra.

The trail is named after the small ‘rock jumper’ buck which is plentiful in the Augrabies. Other animals that you might see include caracal (rooikat) and, if you are lucky, leopard. Animals you will definitely see besides the Klipspringer include the brightly coloured Augrabies Flat Lizard (the males are rainbow coloured), various antelope species, rock hyraxes, raptor species such as the Fish Eagle and many other species of bird. Look out for the giant leopard tortoise. There are many reptile species in the Augrabies, including 21 species of snake – look out for them in the early mornings or late afternoons, but also be aware that they are very shy creatures and will leave you alone. No one has ever been bitten in the Augrabies National Park.

Midge flies aside, this trail is well worth the effort for the amazing views and experience of the Augrabies Falls and the river gorge, and is probably the best way to enjoy the Augrabies National Park.

Please note that this is self-guided trail, and so, as tempting as it might get, it is up to you to heed any advice given not to swim in the Orange River as currents can be dangerous when the river is flowing full.

Absolute essentials on this trail are warm sleeping bags and clothing for the cold nights, high factor sweat resistant sunblock, after-sun, sun hats, insect repellent and lots of water!

More info on the quaint town of Augrabies More info on the Green Kalahari area

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