Day 12 found us in an unbelievably complex
botanical region. The four surrounding areas converge here
and the resulting plant and animal life are very diverse.
Specifically, we drove 25 miles east of town and found a huge
forest of Aloe dichotoma, larger and more dense than any we
had seen in the more representative areas of Namaqualand where
they are native. Technically, these are is the southern most
part of Namaqualand, but this forest was crazy.
Near the forest is the beginning of a river that flows east.
It starts in the meadows of the plateau where Nieuwoudtville
lies and within a few miles has carved a gorge flowing east
off of the plateau. It eventually is swallowed up by the enormous
Great Karoo desert. About 40 miles west is the beginning of
another river that flows west. It also has carved a gorge
and falls from the plateau where Nieuwoudtville lies to the
plains below and on to the Atlantic to the west. Fantastic,
beautiful and wondrous.
Part of the discovery of the second falls was a 2 1/2 hour
hike to find some Bushman cave paintings. We got pretty lost,
scratched and hot, bit never found the paintings. We did find
some interesting plants, and that, after all is why we are