The landscape, immediately after crossing the Orange River at the Noodoewer border post, takes on a desolate appearance.
The route through to Grünau, in the Karas Region goes over gravel plains and then as we head to Hobas – the viewpoint for the Fish River Canyon. Clumps of milkbush and granite outcrops form a backdrop to this arid Eden. As we travel we wonder which animal will be our first viewing of local wildlife? Take a guess?!
Yes!! Baboons! How remarkable that they have adapted and can find enough to sustain life in this tough environment. They are far leaner than the coastal cousins and their fur much finer. I worried about their feet pads burning on the scalding stones, but they appeared to walk quite comfortably but nimbly over the rocky terrain. Their diet would include mainly insects – scorpions, beetles and tuberous plants.
How to describe the spectacular Fish River Canyon? It draws the viewer’s eye into a terrain of riverting and rugged convolutions, twisting and turning. The information boards tell of ancient geological history, but i’m also fired by the local mythology and the story of Koutein Kooru, a giant snake frantically scrambling to get away from San hunters.
Impressively the oldest rocks here existed long before today’s continents were formed by the break up of the super continent Gondwana. The basement rocks are believed to be 2,000 million years old! At some point tectonic plate movement caused a huge block of the Earth’s crust to subside along deep-reaching faults and formed a deep trench. The geology was further shaped through the eons by dramatic forces – erosion, volcanic and climate action. The river has melded its way over millions of years and cut through the Namaqualand Metamorphic Complex exposing horizontal layers of quartzite, gneiss and sedimentary layers.