Sleeping on the edge of a spectacular gorge

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Friends recently asked me about the most special spots to stay within our South African National Parks. When I worked for the SANParks Times back in the day, I had the opportunity to experience some of these gems, though there are many still on my bucket list. This post looks at one of the gems inside our parks – the Oranjekom Gorge Cottage in the Augrabies Falls National Park near Upington in the Northern Cape.

Disclaimer: I have not recently stayed at the Oranjekom Gorge Cottage so things might have changed. This article looks back on a memory and enjoyable experience in the Augrabies Falls National Park. If I get the opportunity, I would go back in a heartbeat.

There are many reasons why I would recommend the Oranjekom Gorge Cottage in the Augrabies Falls National Park. Firstly, people tend to enter the park, visit the waterfall, and leave. Those that take the opportunity to explore the park will know about the hidden beauty, and why it is worthwhile to spend a night or two.

The Oranjekom Gorge Cottage is not your usual accommodation in the park. You won’t hear the voices of other visitors around you. You won’t hear the thundering waterfall either. Instead, when staying at Oranjekom, you can get closer to nature and enjoy the serenity. This unit is tucked away underneath the Oranjekom lookout deck, looking down into the gorge with the sound of the Orange River cascading over the rocks below.

The views are spectacular. Dusk falls and all the park visitors have to make their way back to the main rest camp. You get to stay behind, light your fire, pour a glass of wine, and soak up the scenery without any disturbances.

It could be the ideal romantic getaway or just a special experience for a small family. I was there during a full moon so watched the moon rise over the gorge. The next morning the rays painted a beautiful picture. A pair of African fish eagles were unmissable somewhere in the distance, but apart from this, it was dead quiet.

The design and finishing of the cottage are lovely. Large glass sliding doors overlook both ends of the gorge, bringing the outside closer when you need to go inside. Apart from a double bed, it has a gas stove and is fully equipped. The shower and ablution facilities are separate from the main unit, which might not be ideal for everyone, but it did not bother me at all.

Not much can beat the view you’ll get at this spot. The cottage is easy to access as it is only 10km from the main rest camp. If privacy is what you seek, then the Gorge Cottage should be on your bucket list during your next visit to Augrabies.

Bookings: Online at www.sanparks.org/tourism/bookings/ or through central reservations +27-12-428-9111 or +27-82-233-9111. Email reservations@sanparks.org. You can find the latest tariffs here.

Have you ever spent a night at any spectacular locations? We would love to hear your stories. Tell us about your best options in the comments.

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