Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Valley of Desolation

One of the iconic tourist attractions in the Eastern Cape is the Valley of Desolation just outside Graaff Reinet. It is situated in the Camdeboo National Park which covers an area of 19, 457 ha and virtually encloses the town.

The drive up to the top of the mountain from where the Valley of Desolation can be seen is a very interesting one in itself. Along the way up visitors can stop and walk to a lookout point from where the whole town and surrounding area can be seen. A feature of the landscape is the imposing figure of Spandaukop standing next to the town.

A short distance further visitors get out their vehicles and walk up to the top of the mountain for the awe inspiring view of the Valley. The Valley of Desolation is a geological phenomenon. The vertical cliffs and columns of dolerite that teeter precariously 120 metres above the valley floor are breathtaking. This unusual feature is the product of volcanic and erosive forces that have taken 100 million years to form. They stand sentry over a valley with the plains of the Karoo stretching out behind them. It really forces one to contemplate the force and beauty of nature.
The best time of the day to visit the Valley of Desolation is in the late afternoon or early morning when the light is perfect for photography. A lot of visitors go up to the top at sunset with a picnic basket to watch sun setting over the distant mountains. The picture for last weeks post on Karoo Sunset was taken from here as well.


  1. Stunning series of images, thanks.

  2. What amazing photo's - when do you get to go out and take them - I alway follow you on twitter and you cooking, cleaning, playing with kids...you lead such a busy life if you can still get out.

  3. Wow Jonker, this place is amazing. Love the geological look. I'm going to have to add Camdeboo NP to ever growing list. I'll need more than a month to see it all.
    Great post and captures.

  4. What an amazing set of photos....wish I was there to hike and shoot with you.

  5. This is terrific Jonker. Somehow I do not remember being their although I have been to the area many times. I must remember it for the next time.

  6. Great scenery! No wonder your sunset photo was excellent!