East­ern Cape Edens

Indwe - - Contents - Text: Nicky Fur­niss Im­ages © Sa­mara Pri­vate Game Re­serve, Kwandwe Pri­vate Game Re­serve & iStockphoto.com

The Ka­roo doesn’t gen­er­ally en­gen­der vi­sions of eco-sys­tems alive with an­i­mals and plants, but that is just what you’ll find – thanks in part to the tire­less work of those who have a deep passion for re­ha­bil­i­tat­ing large swathes of this land.

Graaff-Reinet’s Val­ley of Des­o­la­tion couldn’t be any less like its name sug­gests. Set in the heart of the Camde­boo Na­tional Park, per­haps a more apt name would be the Val­ley of Di­ver­sity, based sim­ply on the stag­ger­ing amount of fauna and flora you will find here. Twitch­ers have in ex­cess of 200 bird species, in­clud­ing Kori bus­tards and Black ea­gles, to keep their binoc­u­lars glued to their faces.,. Flora fundis will be spoilt with over 300 plant species, while the rest of us can still be en­ter­tained with the pos­si­bil­ity of spot­ting a healthy se­lec­tion of an­i­mals, in­clud­ing the en­dan­gered Cape Moun­tain Ze­bra and a host of dif­fer­ent an­te­lope species. Vis­i­tors should also be sure to drive slowly as they en­ter the park, not only to en­joy its spec­tac­u­lar views, but be­cause there is a good chance the odd leop­ard tor­toise may be mak­ing its slow and steady way across the tar­mac.

Should you not spot your fair share of an­i­mals, fear not, be­cause the park’s main at­trac­tion – the afore­men­tioned val­ley – is im­pos­si­ble to miss . . . or to for­get. Think tow­er­ing do­lerite col­umns of rock ris­ing up 100 or so me­tres from the desert floor, clus­tered to­gether like a gi­ant’s game of hop­scotch or step­ping stones, cre­ated and weath­ered over the last 100 mil­lion years. It’s lit­tle won­der that it was de­clared a Na­tional Mon­u­ment of ge­o­log­i­cal and scenic sig­nif­i­cance as far back as in 1939. As you stand at the look-out point, and the set­ting sun em­bla­zons the col­umns in warm shades of ochre, with the plains

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.