Eastern Cape Tourist AttractionsThe Valley of Desolation
Where? The gate is reached 5km out of Graaff-Reinet on the R63 to Murraysburg
When? Day visitors are welcome and can make use of the game viewing area and the picnic sites
How? Contact +27 (0)49 892-3453
The Valley of Desolation is a unique Karoo landscape and ecosystem that surrounds the town of Graaff-Reinet, creating a type of oasis in the midst of the aridness of the Karoo.
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 - huge isolated hobgoblins of nature, forcing those who view them to suspend time, if only for a moment, to contemplate the force and beauty of nature.
You’re only 14 kilometres outside of Graaff-Reinet and yet the diversity of the fauna and flora is incredible and attracts 220 species of bird, 336 plants and 43 types of mammal. The Valley of Desolation invites one to stay awhile or to traverse its features and there are walking trails that range from an hour to overnight hikes, as well as picnic sites for those who simply want to gawp at the majestic precipices.
Graaff-Reinet is without doubt worth a visit just for the charmingly restored Karoo-style homes and the historical buildings; and the little hamlet of Nieu-Bethesda lures even the most cynical tourist to the Owl House - the tours never fail to impress and the camel yard to enchant.