Discover South Africa
take your head out of the sand

The Valley of Desolation is situated about 14 km from Graaff-Reinet in the Eastern Cape, South Africa.

This unusual geological feature, found in the Camdeboo National Park surrounding the town of Graaff-Reinet, is the product of volcanic and erosive forces that have taken eons of years to form. The vertical cliffs and columns of dolerite have been declared a national monument of geological and scenic significance since 1939. The dolerite pillars rise to heights of 120 metres above the valley floor, providing breathtaking views.

The original road to the Valley of Desolation was constructed by labourers with picks and shovels and then tarred in 1978 providing tourists with easy access to the viewpoints with their panoramic views of the awesome landscape. The viewpoint can be reached via the Valley Road from the National Park’s entrance gate on the R63.

With an estimated 100 000 visitors to the site each year, the Valley of Desolation is considered the premier tourist attraction in the region.

Things to do and see

  • Crag Lizard Day Walking Trail (1.5 km)
  • Erstefontein Day Walks (5 km, 11 km or 14 km)
  • Driekoppe Trail (overnight trail)
  • Gideon Scheepers Trail
  • Toposcope Viewpoint
  • Picnic Sites

The Camdeboo National Park is managed by the South African Parks Board, SANParks.


Rates and Tariffs vary between R16 and R85 per person, per day. Please contact the Camdeboo National Park directly to confirm pricing.

Gate Times

  • January & February, 06h00 - 16h30
  • March, 06h00 - 19h00
  • April, 06h30 - 18h30
  • May, 07h00 - 18h00
  • June, 07h00 - 17h30
  • July & August, 07h00 - 18h00
  • September, 06h30 - 18h30
  • October, 06h00 - 19h00
  • November, 06h00 - 19h30
  • December, 06h00 - 20h00


Rainfall occurs mainly in the autumn months, with March seeing the highest levels. Winter nights can drop below freezing.

Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 11˚C and 30˚C.

Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 2˚C and 16˚C.


There are flights into Port Elizabeth International Airport, from all major cities in South Africa, on a daily basis. Car hire facilities are available and the airport is approximately 264 km from Graaff-Reinet. 

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