A country ‘just come from the hands of the Creator’ – 1898

Powerful feelings affect the mind of the traveler in the Karoo. He ponders the self-sufficiency of nature, the insignificance of Man, the mystery of the universe as he moves across the brown desert in shimmering waves of heat. But most of all he wonders how much of this high desert-like interior is fit for comfortable habitation, writes James Bryce in Impressions of South Africa: “Yet the Karoo has an awesome, breathtaking beauty. A peculiar characteristic of this great inland plateau is that the scenery possesses a primeval solitude and silence. It has a charm that is differently felt by different minds. The colours in particular enchant. The grey rocks have a deeper tone and are frequently covered by red and yellow lichen, which lend them a wonderful clarity. The sandstone rocks take on a rich tint in the scorching sun and give a magnificent depth to the landscape and, though the flood of midday sunshine is almost overpowering, the lights of morning and evening touching the mountains with every shade of rose and crimson and violet is indescribably beautiful. It is in those morning and evening hours that the charm of the pure dry air is specially felt. Mountains 50 or 60 miles away stand out clearly enough to enable all the wealth of their colour and all the delicacy of their outlines to be perceived and the eye realises by the exquisite tint between the nearer and more distant ranges, the immensity and harmony of the landscape. It has the primitive simplicity of a country just come from the hands of the Creator”


© Rose’s ROUND-UP

Vol 2 No 12 – September 2004