Namaqualand – Orange (Gariep) River
We leave early this morning to make our way northward via the isolated town of Springbok, most well-known for its diamonds, copper and spring blossoms. We then journey across the Namibian border to our gorgeous chalets that look over the river that created the divider between South Africa and Namibia.
Originally called the Nu Gariep (‘Great River’) by the native Nama people, the Orange River was named by Colonel Robert Gordon – a Dutch explorer who once commanded the Cape garrison for several years. It is said that Gordon named the river in honour of William of Orange, but a more popular belief is that it was simply named so because of its colour. Presently, it is known by its original name (Gariep River) and it is the longest river in South Africa, stretching to a distance of 1800 kilometres. Rising in the Drakensberg mountains in Lesotho, where it is known as Sengu, it flows west through South Africa and out into the Atlantic Ocean once it reaches Alexander Bay. On its lengthy voyage, the river boasts a wide selection of beautiful landscapes. It passes through rough mountainous terrains and never-ending dune fields.
The Orange forms part of the international border that runs between South Africa and Namibia, South Africa and Lesotho, and numerous provincial borders within South Africa. Though the river doesn’t run through any main cities, it plays a crucial role within the economy of South Africa by providing water to be used for irrigation and hydroelectric power. The Orange (Gariep) River is also responsible for diamond deposits all along the coast of Namibia. For millions of years this river acted as a transportation system that took diamonds from volcanic pipes within Kimberley, South Africa out into the ocean. From here, currents would take the diamonds north where the surf would catch them and place them into the Namib dune fields.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Two per room: Felix Unite Cabanas
Facilities: En-suite per room, bar, internet café, swimming pool, water not drinkable
Route: Clanwilliam to Orange (Gariep) River +/-570 kms
Travel Time: +/- 8-9 hours plus a border crossing