Eastern Cape 2009 - Graaff-Reinet

This is typical eastern Karoo countryside. Wide, flat, empty plains interspersed with flat-topped hills and mountains. The green bits are either trees around farms or fields that have been irrigated.

Graaff-Reinet is the 4th oldest town in South Africa and has lots of historic buildings, including half a dozen museums.. It is surrounded by the Camdeboo National Park.

The Dutch Reform Church

Graaff-Reinet from the Camdeboo National Park. It lies in a loop of the Sundays River.

The Camdeboo National Park to the west of Graaff-Reinet is famous for The Valley of Desolation. These rock pillars are huge with deep cracks between them. We followed the Lizard Trail which goes along the top of the ridge with lots of viewpoint over the 'Valley'.

We did a day trip to the nearby village of Nieu-Bethesda which is famous for an eccentric artist, Helen Martin, who created The Owl House and Camel Yard. As we approached the village it was like arriving in an oasis, it was so green compared with the rest of the area. We discovered that there's a spring near the village which never dries up and there are channels along the streets and fields for irrigation.

The kitchen of the Owl House. Throughout the house all the walls and ceilings were painted in a variety of colours and then covered in crushed glass. Most of the windows were of coloured glass or covered with paintings made of crushed glass.

Outside the yard was crammed with sculptures made from cement and bottles and sometimes decorated with crushed glass.

We visited the Bethesda Arts Centre which is a local community project. The women were making highly decorated cushion covers, bags and quilts while the men were outside making other items..

We bought a couple of the cushion covers.

Mount Currie Nature Reserve
Mountain Zebra National Park
Addo Elephant National Park
Diary - Word document

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