Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Have you heard - Tucked away places - Augrabies

The vast and arid Northern Cape is by far South Africa’s largest province – it is slightly bigger than Germany and covers nearly a third of South Africa's land area. Yet it has the country's smallest population, a little over 1-million people, and an extremely roomy population density of three people per square kilometre. The province lies to the south of its most important asset, the mighty Orange River, which feeds the agriculture and alluvial diamond industries. The river forms the border with Namibia in the north, while the Molopo River borders Botswana to the northeast. The Northern Cape is home to the world's largest telescope, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), which is being built at Carnarvon. Sutherland is the site of the southern hemisphere's largest astronomical observatory, the multinational-sponsored Southern African Large Telescope, or SALT.
The landscape is characterised by vast arid plains with outcroppings of haphazard rock piles. The cold Atlantic Ocean forms the western boundary.

 One of the highlights of this region is the Augrabies Falls. Few sights are as awesome or a sound as deafening as water thundering down the 56m Augrabies Waterfall when the Orange River is in full flood. The Khoi people called it ‘Aukoerebis’, or Place of Great Noise.

Our recommendation for accommodation in the area is the newly opened Tutwa Desert Lodge, located 80km from Augrabies Falls. It has great potential for leisure travellers and small groups or incentives.
The lodge boasts 10 suites, for 20 guests in total and an additional 4 bedroom farmhouse, which is ideal for families. The owners also offer the use of three PC12’s 9-seater aircraft for private charter. Aircraft can depart from the Execujet hangar in Johannesburg or Cape Town. The flying time from Cape Town is 1hr30min, followed by a 4km 4x4 transfer from the airstrip.  A fly-in is recommended! One could also combine this with a short stop at Augrabies to see the falls, before heading on to the lodge.
Unique activities include safaris (one can see a variety of desert animals) and an ongoing leopard introduction programme (leopard tagging will take place from March 2014 so one could incorporate this as a unique activity). At a future date rhino and desert elephant will be introduced. With 25km water frontage on the Orange River guests can enjoy ½ day white-water rafting or ½ day canoeing activities. There is also a natural hot spring on-site where the lodge can set up 4 massage beds.

As for dining, there are two options – an on-site boma and a beautiful off-site Canyon Dinner with optional star gazing. 

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