Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Port Elizabeth - Camdeboo National Park

Hi everyone,
On Tuesday we drove from Cradock in Eastern Cape province to Oudtshoorn in Western Cape province, a distance of about 400km.  Along the way we visited the Camdeboo National Park near the town of Graaff-Reinet.  Camdeboo means "green hollow" and the area is principally flat farming land surrounded by large mountain ranges.

The park all but surrounds the town, with most game found near the Nqweba Dam.  We saw ostrich, vervet monkeys, duiker, springbok, black wildebeest, blesbok, red hartebeest, gemsbok and steenbok.  None of the species appeared to be here in large numbers.

Inquisitive Vervet Monkey
The park area west of the town appears to have less game, although we saw ostrich and baboons there.  However the country is spectacular and the road leads up to a vantage point high above the town.  Medium sized aircraft were passing by below us!

Valley of Desolation
From Graff-Reinet we drove south west across a large plain used for farms running goats, sheep and cattle.  The area is well known for its mohair production.  The country reminded us of parts of the Pilbara region - wide open spaces with big properties and occasional flat-topped hills and water courses.

As we moved further south west the mountains got a lot bigger.  The country then reminded us of parts of the south-western US.  You'd drive across a set of hills and find completely different country with different farming (or none).

On the road
Spectacular plains surrounded by mountains
Clouds lapping over the Kammanassieberg
We arrived in Oudtshoorn, capital the "little karoo" region mid-afternoon.  The town was once known as "the feather capital of the world", and there are still a huge number of ostrich farms in the area.  Recently it has become an arts and cultural centre and is quite "posh".  Parts of it reminded us of Subiaco with what we would call "federation style" houses in nice tree-lined streets.

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