Cataclysmic natural grandeur, enforced by the elements over billions of years, seems condensed into a single instant here in this ‘Place of Great Noise’. The phrase – a Western bastardisation of the Khoi ‘Aukoerebis’ captures the essence of the time space where the mighty !Xhariep thunders 80m along a granite chute into the grey-green pools below. Beyond the gorge, back roads bang into an extra-terrestrial melee of of rock and dust and Tim Burton botany. Crank in cruise mode along gravel tracks and slick-rock slopes to Oranjekom, Echo Corner or Ararat, where black magma rears up in shards of shattered volcanic rock. Get you groove back amidst the monochrome hum of the Swartrante, where the sun lasers down it’s searing rays to transform the super-heated valleys into a virtual reality Mordor. Until the dying of the day, when swallows and sunbirds and shy geckos and monitor lizards appear to laze in the kiss of the cooling breeze, and all is good with the world.
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