4 Day Xstream Fishing SafariCheck Availability
130km from Augrabies
This trip covers a 35-kilometre stretch of the Orange River. Your fishing trip begins at Tutwa Manor House on the Southern Cross Game Reserve, just downstream of the Augrabies Falls National Park. You are accommodated in comfortable twin en-suite rooms on the reserve for your first night. The guides will do an informal briefing, followed by dinner in the boma around a campfire.
The next three nights are spent camping along the banks of the river, moving daily to new waters. Wild and untamed, this is pure wilderness fishing at its best. Boasting both smallmouth and largemouth yellowfish, along with catfish, carp, silvers, muddies, moggels and tilapia, this trip will get you hooked.
On the final day, you will be collected from the take-out point in mid-morning and be transferred back to the reserve for hot showers and a farewell lunch. Departure is after lunch.
Your fishing trip begins at Tutwa Manor House on the Southern Cross Game Reserve, just downstream of the Augrabies Falls National Park. Meet and greet is from 4pm. You are accommodated in comfortable twin, en-suite rooms on the reserve for your first night. The guides will do an informal briefing, followed by dinner in the boma around the campfire.
You’ll wake up to an early breakfast before heading off. You are then driven 20 kilometres through Northern Bushmanland to the start of the trail. A short paddle takes you to the most amazing series of rapids, which continue for four kilometres. You can fish the morning away, after which lunch is prepared during an early-afternoon break from the heat, and then a minor rapid or two are encountered on the way to your first night at Island Style, where you find your camp waiting with a blazing fire and snacks.
The day starts at sunrise, when the temperature is altogether more comfortable. Breakfast on fruit, breads, oats, coffee and tea before another busy day of fishing. The feeling of isolation is all the more apparent as you weave through the magnificent gorges that echo forever downstream. Lunch is always in the shade on the river bank during the hottest part of the day. Fishing and paddling, you continue to work your way downstream. There is lots of time for you to explore the river, chill in the shade, swim and relax before the guides blow you away with a feast fit for a hungry rafter.
Test your newfound fishing skills to the full as you explore channels and water mazes as the river slowly carves its way through a mass of reed banks, islands and small rapids. Goliath herons, with their two-metre wingspans, glide over the surface of the river catching fish, unperturbed by the human onlookers. The night is spent on the Namibian side of the river opposite the hot springs. In fact, at this point, you could walk north through the desert for three or four days without coming across a soul.
Day 5, Final Day
There is more fishing and relaxing before you hit the final rapid - called Graduation. Shortly afterwards, you pull the canoes out of the river and transport awaits to return you to base, your vehicle, a blissfully hot shower and a complimentary farewell lunch. You depart for your next destination at about 3pm.
4 Days / 4 Nights
Entry into the Reserve and your Tutwa Manor House accommodation.
All tents, mattresses, catering, cutlery/crockery, guides, coolers, ice, safety equipment.
Meals are 3 times daily with additional snacks, teas and coffees.
Camp hands to pitch tents and break them down.
Internal transport to and from the river.
Personal beverages and water.
Wet gear: Hat, sunglasses with ties, wading boots, costume, shorts, long sleeved shirts, and a waterproof windbreaker.
Dry gear: Tracksuit, shirts, underwear, dry shoes or boots, environment friendly toiletries, torch and camera. Personal medications.
Camping gear: Sleeping bag, camp chair. We supply tents, mattresses and camp hands.
Drinks: Cans are best. No glass please except decent bottles of wine. It can get hot so be generous with your calculations. The river water is entirely drinkable but not to everyone's taste.
Flyrod x 2: Minimum 5/6 weight with rodtube.
Flyline x 2: Floating and intermediate lines are essential.
Tippet: A variety of tippet material should be brought along, 2.7kg and upwards. For Largemouths and Catfish strong leader and tippet material is a must. Splitshot: Small to medium Strike Indicators: Preferably bright Orange and as large as possible.
Wading boots or good wading shoes.
Neoprene waders: Not essential but can be useful.
Polarised sunglasses with tie ons and a wide brim hat.
Net: A telescopic type net for landing fish.
Flies: Sizes 8-14, we prefer barbless. Wet flies are used mostly but a few dries could come in handy for evening rises.
Fly selection: Copper Johns, Hotspots, Vaal Mayfly, Red Bloodworm, wire caddis, Green caddis, Bead head Gold hare’s ear nymph, Mustard Caddis, KGB, Plaza Pupa. Colours vary from red, green, olive, orange to brown for small mouths, weighted and unweighted flies are good. Largemouth Flies, like Wooly Buggers sizes 6-8, Zonkers, Krystal Bugger, MSP, Strip Leech, Strip Damsel and Marabou Dragon. Flies for Barbel need to be large so that they can move water, poppers etc are great but some mouse imitations and terrestrial imitations need to be included.
Both bait rods and spinner rods are welcome.
Tutwa Manor House on the Southern Cross Game Reserve.
The Green Kalahari embraces a large tract of undulating red dunes, mountain desert, and grasslands in the far north of the Northern Cape Province bordering Namibia and Botswana. In the extreme north it is home to the popular Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park where the black-maned lion is king, while in the west lies the Augrabies Falls National Park.
Upington, which straddles the banks of the Orange River where the N10 and N14 intersect, is the region’s main town. Further down river the other important regional towns of Keimoes and Kakamas bask amongst the vineyards.
Many may consider ’green’ a little optimistic where the Kalahari is concerned. However, the ‘Green’, in this case, is in reference to the extensive vineyards that flank the Orange River as it curves through the region. In summer they trace a lush, verdant line against an otherwise arid backdrop of hills and plains cloaked in autumnal colours for most of the year. The vineyards follow the river for 350km and cover over 17 000 hectares making it one of the most intensively farmed areas in South Africa.
From here table grapes are exported to Europe, while some cultivars are turned into award-winning wines by Orange River Wine Cellars. This five-cellar co-operative, which produces around 30 different wines, is the largest in the country.
Paradoxically, for a region considered by many to be a desert, there are plenty of water-based activities, all of which are centred on the Orange River - at 2200km it’s South Africa’s longest River. Great river-rafting opportunities can be enjoyed along the stretch between Kakamas and the Augrabies falls.
There’s also fishing, ‘twitching’ along the banks, and in Upington, an evening cruise while supping a few cold beverages to watch the sunset.
Then there’s the varied desert wilderness to explore, from the rocky environs around Augrabies Falls and Riemvasmaak, through the rolling red sand dunes further north, to the vast flat pans in the Mier area. Amidst all this rugged scenery Camelthorn trees dot the landscapes and the large thatched nests of the busy sociable weavers crown both trees and telephone poles alike.
Game viewing in the Green Kalahari is somehow more rewarding than in areas more flush with rainfall. Perhaps it’s the amazement at the variety in an arid land.
The prime spot is the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, but there’s also Augrabies Falls National Park, isolated areas like Spitskop Nature Reserve near Upington, and a host of game farms.
Birdwatchers, and especially those into raptors, are likely to suffer whiplash from swinging the binos around at the variety, especially in the far north. From the mighty martial eagle to the diminutive pygmy falcon, the region is a birders’ paradise. Wine-tasting, recreation and adventure sports, game-viewing, and bird-watching… and the area is well-known for its dried-fruit production.
In essence a visit to the region is all about discovery, where visitors can shun the ordinary and expect the unusual. It’s not just an aimless wander through a barren desert, but rather an odyssey across a new frontier far removed from the tourist crowds. Above all, welcomes are as warm as the weather, the hospitality is superb, and the food – especially the meat – is excellent and plentiful.
Look out for
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park - in the far north of the region is a vast wilderness of red dunes, dry savannah, and majestic camel thorn trees along the Auob and Nossob Rivers. It’s a birders’ paradise and there are plenty of antelope and their associated predators, including the black-maned Kalahari lion. The park has 264 bird species, including two thirds of the raptors found in South Africa, however, this list includes many vagrants so numbers vary throughout the year. There is an abundance of smaller wildlife, from mammals to rodents, reptiles, and insects that will keep nature-lovers enthralled for hours. The three traditional camps are Twee Rivieren, Nossob, and Mata Mata, which offer accommodation in both chalets and campsites, and they have shops and sell fuel. However, there are also a number of wilderness camps - some accessible only in a 4x4.
Augrabies Falls National Park - the principal attraction here is the 6th largest waterfall in the world. Other highlights include Moon Rock, a massive granite monolith, and Ararat viewpoint which overlooks some of the 18km gorge below the falls. Although it is primarily a scenic park, wildlife includes giraffe and several antelope species, and 180+ bird species have been recorded. A drive along the network of gravel roads or a walk on one of the trails will reveal some of the region’s sublime mountain desert scenery. Accommodation is in chalets, bungalows, or camp and caravan sites, and there’s a licensed à-la-carte restaurant, a coffee shop, and a shop with basic foodstuffs and curios. Day visitors are welcome.
Orange River Wine Cellars - the cellars at the towns of Upington, Kakamas, Keimoes, Groblershoop, and also at Grootdrink (alongside the N10 between Upington and Groblershoop) offer wine tastings and sales.
Riemvasmaak Hot Springs - 56km north-west of Kakamas, is situated in a deep ravine surrounded by a mountain desert landscape. The 75 000ha wilderness near Augrabies Falls offers visitors a chance to relax in the soothing waters of the hot springs, take up the challenge of three 4x4 trails, break out on foot along three hiking trails, or enjoy other adventure activities. They have basic self-catering accommodation.
River rafting on the Orange - for specialised 4-day canoe safaris and shorter river trips around the Augrabies Falls call Kalahari Outventures. They also do 5-day back road trips through the Kalahari. Khamkirri Private Game Reserve, 30km from Kakamas, is a one-stop activity centre, excellent for those who get bored of routine. They offer game drives, river rafting, angling, horse riding, abseiling, tours to local attractions, 4x4 routes, and bird watching. They also have a range of accommodation.
Dried Fruit - there’s an unbelievable variety of dried fruit that can be bought at farm stalls throughout the region.