Desert days – The Karoo National Park

I have just spent the last week in a most hospitable inhospitable place. It’s a dry, dusty and pale landscape that mirrors the sky in shadows. There are sweeping vistas, big sky and an abundance of life that is hard to fathom.

Shadows in the sky

Shadows in the sky

Welcome to the Karoo National Park …

It’s a fairly large place and the roads through the park are extreme in difference, from wind swept plains with mountains hiding the horizons, to sharp curves between the layers of landscape.

Short sighted

Short sighted

Dry river beds, no doubt brought to life by the thunderstorms I see flashing behind the koppies at night, weave veins of vegetation, it is here you will find the Gary Larson like Gemsbok, small herds of Springbok sprinting through the veld and Black Back Jackals wandering aimlessly but for the sake of scents.

Gemsbok

Gemsbokscape

Kudu, in a wisely manner, stare at you obscured by the bush. Red Haartebeest careen away from you as you approach, the birds continue in there own world and the klipspringers sit dead still and pose cautiously for photographs.

Klipspringer

Stillness

Early risers are gifted a gentle light and a silence punctuated by birds, and it was here I got to sit and watch, and in the stillness, listen, to a single rhino grazing, occasionally giving me the beady eye before tearing another mouthful of Karoo grass.

Blessed are the early

Blessed are the early

I saw the land, but it hardly noticed me, in early morning the gentleness of the light soon turns to a harsh dry heat, the midday is devoid of shadow, shade for all is at a premium and then as the cooler evenings rush to beat the sun as it sinks several times over the layered landscape, it again shows another side, one filled with startling contrast, bright colours and life.

Changes

Changes

The Karoo National Park is a wonder that is hard to capture in words or images, it is preferably seen at first hand to spark your own imagination. The word desolate comes to mind when reaching for adjectives to describe these landscapes, but it would be a disservice to this ecosystem that eludes a stark beauty and is bountiful with life.

View the Photostory

View the Karoo National Park Useful Info Page

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