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Big Country - Walk in Africa
2 Dec

Big Country

That afternoon we drove north, in the rain, to the Algeria Parks Headquarters and slept in a lovely old farmhouse below the Uitkyk Pass. Miraculously the following day was a perfect day for walking – cool and clear, and we began our ascent up through Die Gat (The Hole) to Grootland (Big Country). It was a beautiful but rather steep ascent.

We emerged on the plateau below the Grootland Peak, surrounded by eroded rock sculptures and peaks.

Just through the nek (saddle/col) we saw the area called Grootland. It is an enormous field of green bisected by streams and surrounded by massifs including one mysteriously called Groot Hartseer (great heart-sore). As we walked through Grootland three Klipspringers came running past us and we obtained excellent views. Klipspringers are diminutive agile antelope that are adapted to living in rocky areas.

The Cederberg is named for the endemic and endangered Clanwilliam Cedar Tree (Widdringtonia cedarbergensis). In this part of the mountain range these trees are still present and we passed through a few small forests of the species. However there are sadly also many old skeletons of trees that had died.

We stopped for yet another delicious and nutritious lunch made by Carla.

And then we made our way past the Middelberg Peaks and down the mountain. We paused to admire the waterfall, which is normally very impressive, but on this day was an awesome torrent.

Once down at Algeria we all felt like we had enjoyed a fine walk, and in spite of my warnings everyone fell into the trap of thinking that we were almost home. In fact, the last five kilometres of the walk were much tougher than expected, and supper and a bottle of wine were most welcome.

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