World Famous View Sites

World-famous View Sites in Oribi Gorge. The Oribi Gorge – a place of echoes – was created over millions of years as the Umzimkhulwana River carved its way over flat rock, finding faults in the stone and eroding enormously deep and narrow gorges. At the base of the cliffs there are rocks that are over 100 million years old. Keep reading to learn how the gorge was formed.

View sites include:

  1. The Overhanging Rock
  2. The Chimney
  3. Camel Rock
  4. The Needle
  5. Baboon’s Castle
  6. Lehr’s Waterfall
  7. The Heads
  8. Lovers’ Leap

Accessibility

The above sites are all located on the Oribi Gorge Hotel property. All sites are accessible by dirt road, with the exception of the Heads, which can only be accessed on Foot OR Mountain bike.

VIEW-SITES-MAP

How the Oribi Gorge was formed…

The Oribi Gorge Geology:

When you peer down over 300 m into the depths of Oribi Gorge you are looking back through well over 1,000 million years of Earth’s history. The Mzimkulwana River bed exposes marble deposits that formed when marine deposits that had been forced deep into the crust around 1,400 million years ago were engulfed by intruding magma at a depth of more than 10 km. The coarse-grained Oribi Gorge Granitoids formed from these huge magma masses called ‘plutons’ that rose through the Earth’s crust about 1,000 million years ago. By 500 million years ago these rocks had been uplifted to the Earth’s surface, eroded and buried by thick river deposits (Natal Group sandstones). These sandstones had also been eroded away in the Oribi Gorge area by about 350 million years ago when the area was covered by a shallow marine basin that extended across the country to the Cape.

The prominent cliffs forming Oribi Gorge comprise the Msikaba Formation sandstones which accumulated as offshore sand bars on a stable continental shelf. During this period southern Africa was part of a supercontinent named Pangaea that broke up to form Gondwana, the supercontinent that included most of Africa, South America, Antarctica, Australia and India. During this period the southern African region was covered by the extensive Karoo Basin. Plate tectonic processes caused the rifting of Gondwana after 180 million years ago forming the Indian Ocean and separating the continents as we know them today. At least 2,000 m of Karoo rocks were eroded off the Oribi Gorge area, leaving the resistant Msikaba Formation quartzitic sandstones exposed on the long-lived, ancient African land surface. Rivers crossing this landscape responded to dramatic changes in sea-level and incised deep gorges through the sandstone, preferentially eroding linear zones of weakness along fracture zones. Boulder beds exposed along the river valleys in the area trace the meandering and periodic incision of the river channels over the past 5 million years when the Oribi Gorge was scoured to its present form.

Excerpt from the Southern Explorer Route Guide publication. Information supplied by NPC Cimpor and approved by the Council for Geoscience.

Accessibility

The above sites are all located on the Oribi Gorge Hotel property. All sites are accessible by dirt road, with the exception of the Heads, which can only be accessed on Foot OR Mountain bike.

Entrance Fees & Map

  • Adults R15
  • Children (3 – 12yrs) R10
  • Children (under 3yrs) no charge
  • Pensioners R10

Once making payment at the Oribi Gorge Hotel Curio Shop, you will receive a map of the property. Present your receipt to the guard at the boom-gate entrance to gain access to the view sites Day visitors welcome!

Opening Hours

  1. Strictly 08h00 to 17h00

Picnics

  • Feel free to bring your own picnic blanket & basket or order a hamper from the Hotel. There are no demarcated picnic spots, but you are welcome to picnic at any of the view sites.

Braais

  • Braai menus are available at the Hotel by prior arrangement.