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Valley of Desolation, Graaff-Reinet Drawing and Info

The Valley of Desolation, A hidden gem in the Karoo. It is without a doubt worth a visit. If you are travelling through the Karoo I recommend staying in Graaff-Reinet or Nieu Bethesda, the towns have charmingly restored Karoo-style homes and the historical buildings surrounded by the stunning desert Karoo landscape and of course, the towering columns of the Valley of Desolation in the Camdeboo National Park


Drawing of the Valley of Desolation in Graaff-Reinet by Diane Shearer | Art From Adventures

- Pen Drawings of South African landscapes.



I had heard that name before from stories my gran used to tell me of her travels but I had no idea where it was. In December I decided to plan a little road trip to Cape Town, South Africa from Johannesburg which included a stop to find little gems in the Karoo and the Valley of Desolation jumped out at me. We ended up staying in a beautiful mystical little town called Nieu Bethesda which we fell in love with immediately. We headed to Graaff Reinet at sunset to see the balancing columns of Dolerite which make up the Valley of Desolation also known as ‘Cathedral in the mountains’ in the Camdeboo National Park. It’s that type of view that makes you want to stop, sit down and just gaze in silence and awe.



Valley Of Desolation, Camdeboo National Park, Graaff Reinet, South Africa



Fun Facts about The Valley of Desolation


  • The balancing columns of Dolerite rise 120 metres from the valley floor

  • The columns are a product of volcanic and erosive forces that have taken 100 million years to form.

  • There are over 220 recorded species of birdlife, 336 plants and 43 mammals in the area

  • It was declared as a National Monument of geological and scenic significance in 1939.

  • The road to the top of the valley was tarred in 1978

  • Camdeboo or Xamdeboo is a Khoi-khoi word that is thought to mean green valley.

  • Karoo is also a Khoi-khoi word meaning great thristland.



Things to do in and around Graaff-Reinet


  • Visit the Reinet House

  • View the Nqweba Dam

  • Visit the Hester Rupert Art Museum

  • See the Andries Pretorius Monument

  • Visit the Owl House

  • Hike Compassberg

  • Visit the Dutch Reformed Church

  • Visit the Bushman Heritage Museum

  • Hike Spandau Kop


Buy this drawing of the Valley of Desolation

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