South Africa (Eastern Cape, Free State, Northern Cape)
The Orange is a major river in southern Africa, one of the longest on the continent and one of the longest south of the Tropic of Capricorn. After rising in the Lesotho Highlands, less than 200 km from the Indian Ocean, the river flows to the Atlantic Ocean in a generally westerly direction for some 2 200 km. The Orange River traverses the veld region of South Africa, after which it defines the southern limit of the Kalahari and bisects the southern Namib before draining into the Atlantic at Alexander Bay, SA. Along its course the river forms the eastern boundary of the South African province of Free State, as well as the boundary between Namibia and South Africa. The Orange River – together with the Vaal, its principal tributary – forms a drainage basin with an area of at least 855,000 km² . The western part of the basin is generally dry, flat, and unamenable to cultivation without irrigation. The river itself is of vital economic importance to the region through which it flows. Two projects – the Orange River Project and the Lesotho Highland Project, both in various stages of construction – have been designed to meet the water demand for irrigation, urbanization, and economic development in the central industrial areas of South Africa.
Moving generally westwards from Augrabies, via the Orange River Gorge, Onseepkans and the historic settlement of Pella with its desert cathedral, the river reaches the Richtersveld, where this bastion of desert mountains forces the Great River to change course and flow almost directly north in its search for escape from the sub continent to the Atlantic Ocean. In the region of the Orange/Fish River confluence, this weakness is broached and the river is able to continue westwards across the Northern Cape coastal plain to spill its brown waters into the frigid currents of the Atlantic, between the settlements of Alexander Bay and Oranjemund – both situated on the famous Diamond Coast of South Africa and Namibia.
It is in the Richtersveld area that the Orange River plays host to the most popular of the “river-runs” in South Africa. These river trails, mostly between Noordoewer and the Fish River junction, yield excitement without danger. Rapids, graded from 1 to 6 (that is from gentle up to those impossibly difficult ones which are best skirted on foot) reach a grade 2 of 2.5 along this stretch. Indeed, the sun poses more of a risk than the waters.
The Gariep Dam is located on the Orange River between the Eastern Cape to the south and the Free State to the north and about 30 km north east of Colesberg. Gariep is San for “Great Water”, and is the original name of the Orange River.
Location (30° 37′ 25.43″ S, 25° 30′ 23.81″ E)
The Gariep Dam is the largest storage reservoir in South Africa with a surface area of more than 370 km² when full.
View Orange River in a larger map
On the banks of the Orange River, which forms the natural border between South Africa and Namibia, you will find Orange River Lodge. The lodge is situated in the border town of Noordoewer – Namibia, next to the BP petrol station, approximately 1 km from the Namibian border post.
Situated 50km North-West of the village of Noordoewer lies the Norotshama River Resort, framed by Namibia’s breathtaking natural landscape on the banks of the Orange River.
Waschbank River Lodge is the most spectacular spot on the breathtaking banks of the Orange River.