A guest post by Estie for Notes from Africa
During the winter holidays, I was lucky enough to go to Graaff-Reinet, a historic town in the Eastern Cape. During my research before the trip, I heard about the Valley of Desolation. Surrounding the town is the Camdeboo National Park and you have to go into the park to see the valley. But in winter the sun sets early and you have to leave the park at 18:00.
These photographs were taken in the late afternoon and early evening.
The Valley of Desolation is one of Graaff-Reinet’s trade-mark attractions and truly a geological phenomenon. Though called a Valley it is actually a cliff face with dolerite columns that go up about 120 meters from the valley below.
The Valley of Desolation is situated 14km North-West of Graaff-Reinet in the Camdeboo Nature Reserve. One drives up a steep, narrow road into the mountains surrounding Graaf-Reinet. There are view points and picnic areas on the way to the top. The first view point over-looks Graaff-Reinet and the Karoo expanse towards Pearston.
The next view point is at the columns itself. The walk from the parking area to the columns is worth it. Overlooking the plains of the Camdeboo is a sight to be remembered.
I had no idea what to expect, but I dressed warmly for my trip into the park and up the mountain. Graaff- Reinet is a cold place in winter and temperatures of zero degrees Celsius (and below) are quite common at night. At the first viewpoint you start to see the valley, and at the second one you could see it even better. They are the plains of the Camdeboo and the faraway koppies. It was truly spectacular. As the sun goes down the landscape changes colour and becomes even more magnificent.
It is a humbling experience. Seeing something as big as this makes one feel very small. This is really an experience to remember. I tried to capture it as the colours changed but although the photos are beautiful, they are still not even close to the real thing. It is really one of the best experiences I have ever had. Put this on your bucket list!
“You can fall in love at first sight with a place as with a person” ~ Alec Waugh
Text and photographs (unless otherwise stated) are ©2011 Estie/notesfromafrica.wordpress.com