Valley of Desolation

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Camdeboo National Park, Graaff-Reinet  
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Description

The Valley of Desolation – often called ‘The Cathedral of the Mountains’ – is a national monument and the premier tourist attraction in the Camdeboo National Park.

Experience the breathtaking view of piled dolerite columns against the backdrop of the plains of the Great Karoo. Absorb yourself in the timeless sense of wonder at a landscape said to be the product of volcanic and erosive forces of nature over a period of 100 million years.

Enjoy the unique view of the historic town of Graaff-Reinet, set like a jewel within a horseshoe bend of the Sundays River. Nature lovers will appreciate the Karoo mountain flora and fauna and the opportunity to view black eagles at close range.

The Valley of Desolation rock formations consist of dolerites which have formed jointed pillars. Erosion of the softer sedimentary beds has left dolerite pillars which rise to heights of 90 to 120 metres.

The Valley of Desolation was declared as a National Monument of geological and scenic significance in 1939. The original road to the Valley of Desolation was constructed by labourers using picks, shovels and barrows. The road to the top of the valley was tarred in 1978 and today provides tourists with easy access to the viewpoints with their panoramic views of the landscape.

To the north, the highest peak in the Sneeuberg mountain range – Compassberg (2504m) – is prominent, while on a clear day, the southern horizon stretches as far as the distant Cockscomb Mountains. To the east lies the ‘Driekoppie’ (in the park) and the Nardausberg (beyond the park boundaries), both of which are often covered in snow during winter.

The Plains of Camdeboo lie spread out south of the Sneeuberg from Pearston to Murraysburg. The viewpoints at the valley itself provide a breathtaking view of piled dolerites columns against the backdrop of the plain of the Great Karoo and a timeless sense of wonder.

The Crag Lizard Trail starts at the Valley parking area and extends for about one and a half kilometres via the Valley viewpoints. It is about a 45-minute walk and is well marked with the Crag Lizard logo.

Valley of Desolation Map

In and Around

Customer Reviews

Reviews 2 of 2
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- Beautiful place

Gazelle Schoeman
South Africa

Breathtaking! - Breathtaking!

Brenda Strydom
South Africa

Accommodation near Valley of Desolation

*Distances are shown as the crow flies and not necessarily the actual travelling distance.

from R870
1 night, 2 adults

A Mountain View Guest House

Sleeps 22 Graaff-Reinet Guest House, Graaff-Reinet Bed and Breakfast in Graaff-Reinet
4.34km from Valley of Desolation

A Mountain View Guest House offers three Double Rooms and two Twin Rooms. Sleeper couches are also ...

from R900
1 night, 2 adults

Somerset Stables

Sleeps 6 Graaff-Reinet Bed and Breakfast in Graaff-Reinet
4.36km from Valley of Desolation

Enjoy the Karoo star-filled night sky that makes you think of God's personal jewellery box. Somerse...

from R1,200
1 night, 2 adults

Cypress Cottage

Sleeps 9 Graaff-Reinet Bed and Breakfast in Graaff-Reinet
4.40km from Valley of Desolation

These two charming cottages date back to the 1800s and combine authentic Karoo style and ambience wi...

from R1,000
1 night, 2 adults

Villa Reinet Guest House

Sleeps 17 Graaff-Reinet Guest House in Graaff-Reinet
4.46km from Valley of Desolation

Villa Reinet Guest House is a national monument situated in the historic Karoo country town of Graaf...

from R760
1 night, 2 adults

Aan die Oewer B&B

Sleeps 21 Graaff-Reinet Self-catering, Graaff-Reinet Bed and Breakfast in Graaff-Reinet
4.54km from Valley of Desolation

At Aan die Oewer we have created a haven for the travel-weary soul. Situated in the quietest part o...

from R150
1 night, 2 adults

Urquhart Caravan Park

Sleeps 240 Graaff-Reinet Self-catering, Graaff-Reinet Camping and Caravanning in Graaff-Reinet
4.56km from Valley of Desolation

Urquhart Caravan Park is located just outside the historic town of Graaff-Reinet, known as the gem o...

from R440
1 night, 2 adults

Fairfield Cottage

Sleeps 6 Graaff-Reinet Self-catering in Graaff-Reinet
4.58km from Valley of Desolation

Fairfield Cottage is a neat and comfortable self-catering cottage in Graaff-Reinet. It is ideal for ...

from R500
1 night, 2 adults

Acacia Guest House

Sleeps 10 Graaff-Reinet Self-catering in Graaff-Reinet
4.60km from Valley of Desolation

Acacia Guest House is centrally located in one of Graaff-Reinet’s main streets, within walking dista...

from R550
1 night, 2 adults

Country Village Accommodation

Sleeps 19 Graaff-Reinet Self-catering, Graaff-Reinet Bed and Breakfast in Graaff-Reinet
4.62km from Valley of Desolation

The professional welcome that Petra and his staff offer when you arrive at their oasis in the heart ...

from R390
1 night, 2 adults

Karoopark Guest House

Sleeps 28 Graaff-Reinet Guest House in Graaff-Reinet
4.67km from Valley of Desolation

Karoopark Guest House is centrally situated near Graaff-Reinet's main attractions. En-suite rooms w...

 
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  •  www.sanparks.org/parks/camdeboo
  •  +27 (0)49 892 3453 Camdeboo@sanparks.org

Breathtaking!…”  Read more

Brenda Strydom - 27 December 2013

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Gazelle Schoeman - 15 July 2014
© Johannes Van Niekerk, Camdeboo National Park


© Camdeboo National Park


© Camdeboo National Park