Valley of Desolation

The Valley of Desolation is a geological phenomenon; a sheer cliff face, declared a national monument that lies within the Camdeboo National Park

Eastern Cape Tourist AttractionsThe Valley of Desolation

The Valley of Desolation in the Eastern Cape is a geological phenomenon; a sheer cliff face, declared a national monument that lies within the Camdeboo National Park.

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

Overnight? See Graaff-Reinet accommodation, in Eastern Cape

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.

Popular Attractions near Valley of Desolation

Camdeboo National Park

Camdeboo National Park provides the visitor with insights into the unique landscape and ecosystem of the Karoo as well as splendid scenic beauty. An interesting feature of the 14,500 ha Camdeboo National Park is its very unique and unusual...

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Camdeboo Pass

The Camdeboo Pass lies entirely within the Camdeboo National Park, just off the R63 from the Karoo town of Graaff-Reinet. The pass gets little publicity in its own right. It doesn't even make it onto the top billing list of the park...

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Obesa Cacti Nursery

In the heart of Graaff Reinet lies a totally unexpected surprise in the form of a nursery, which might just as well be called a garden as a wander around will soon divulge. Even the pavement where you park the car gives more than a hint...

More info and contact details: Obesa Cacti Nursery

Did you know?

The Camdeboo National Park incorporates the Valley of Desolation, also known as the ‘cathedral of the mountains’ for its piled dolerite columns that stand like sentries against the plains of the Groot Karoo. A product of erosion and volcanic forces, the views from in amongst these knobbly pillars extend over the town of Graaff-Reinet and the plains of the Camdeboo.

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