Valley of Desolation
Located in the Camdeboo National Park outside Graaff Reinet, the Valley of Desolation is one of the natural wonders of South Africa. Sheer cliffs and precariously balanced columns of dolerite rise 120m from the valley floor against the timeless backdrop of the vast plains of Camdeboo. The product of volcanic and erosive forces, this cathedral has been formed over 200 million years and standing on the edge of these cliffs, it is easy to be swept back in time to imagine herds of wildlife, and maybe even a dinosaur too! The views from the valley are simply breathtaking and the valley receives more than 100 000 visitors every year.
The valley is just 14km from the town of Graaff Reinet with entrance through the Camdeboo National Park. At the valley, visitors can picnic, braai and enjoy the views, or take the 1,5km Lizard Trail hike which touches all the best viewpoints in a short circular loop. Photo opportunities are plentiful and sunset at the Valley of Desolation is a most unforgettable experience as the light changes from butter yellow to gold, orange to fiery red, and the sky follows through a kaleidoscope of blues before settling on a deep purple speckled with stars – the heavens seem close enough to touch.
Did you know:
The Educational Centre
Did you know that the Valley of Desolation forms part of the South African school curriculum?
The centre and staff offer programmes to any formal group to promote awareness of and sensitivity towards the natural environment. Courses are tailored to meet visitors’ needs. A maximum of 40 people can be accommodated and visits may range from one to four days. This centre may also be booked for team building or conference purposes. However, educational groups get the first option over private use.