South Africa: Touring the Valley of Desolation!


On my last day in the Karoo I had the chance to join a tour of the Valley of Desolation - remember when I arrived and said I'd do it? David McNaughton – he owns a book shop in Graaff-Reinet – offers different tours including a 4x4 tour of the valley. Hester was kind enough to organize one for me and in the end the other volunteer as well as Hester herself joined the tour. Aside from us there was a German couple with us and I could even help and translate some parts they couldn’t quite understand. David picked us up at the house of a friend where Hester and the other volunteer would spend the night, waiting for a Danish volunteer to arrive the following morning. We soon realized why Hester told us to bring jackets, warm jackets. It was really cold! Luckily David had some warm blankets prepared; otherwise I think I wouldn’t have survived! We drove to the gate of the Camdeboo National Park; although it’s not really a gate hence it doesn’t have a fence. There you have to provide your passport number or an ID document so remember to bring it! Fortunately I know my passport number by now so I didn’t even have to check. Then we passed through and soon saw some ostriches! The only one I had seen until then was one at the farm stall close to Nieu-Bethesda, but never before in the wild. On our way up the mountain we also got to see some kudu – almost at the top one was standing right next to the road! Furthermore there were some zebra (I had only seen them once far in the distance on our game drive through the neighbouring farm), cape mountain zebra to be exact and some red hartebeest. Weird name but majestic animal! Almost at the top we hiked a short path p to a lookout point from where you could see Graaff-Reinet and in the distance even the peak of Kompaßberg looking in Ganora direction. We took some pictures, standing, looking over Graaff-Reinet down in the valley or holding a South African flag and then continued up the last bit to the Valley of Desolation. We made it just in time for the sunset to take some amazing pictures of the rocks shimmering in the golden light! What an awesome sight! We also heard a jackal calling and, again, took some pictures standing and sitting gazing over the valley. I climbed some nearby rocks to be able to take a better shot and on our way down we stopped at another lookout point watching the sunset and having a drink.



Once we arrived in Graaff-Reinet I still had some time left before I’d have to go to the bus station so we decided to have dinner at the Spur’s in town – very delicious and cheap burgers, milkshakes and waffles there! After that I stopped by at the BnB I stayed at when arriving in the Karoo to say thank you and goodbye and we then waited for my bus.


Don’t be surprised when going by bus, mine was half an hour late, we had to change bus back and forth in the middle of the night and arrived three hours late in Jo’burg but I arrived safely!

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