Mild to Wild: Adventures and Activities in Southern Africa (MapStudio), by Fiona McIntosh

Mild to Wild: Adventures and Activities in Southern Africa (MapStudio), by Fiona McIntosh. MapStudio, Cape Town, South Africa 2013. ISBN 9781770264571 / ISBN 978-1-77026-457-1

Mild to Wild: Adventures and Activities in Southern Africa (MapStudio), by Fiona McIntosh. MapStudio, Cape Town, South Africa 2013. ISBN 9781770264571 / ISBN 978-1-77026-457-1

From diverse regions of Southern and East-Central Africa introduced in Fiona McIntosh's guide, Mild to Wild: Adventures and Activities in Southern Africa (MapStudio), the following excerpt referrs to the Karoo in South Africa.

Fiona McIntosh  

South Africa: Karoo

THE TWO KAROOS
The Karoo is a vast, dry expanse of desert-like terrain that stretches across sections of the Western Cape and into the Northern Cape. It is divided into the Little and the Great Karoo, according to geological factors as well as topography, vegetation and climate. Its name comes from the indigenous Khoi people's description of it as the 'land of great thirst'. The Karoo boasts the world's greatest number of succulents (as well as some of the largest specimens), with more than 9000 in the Beaufort West region alone. The scenery is flat, monotonous, and stretches to the horizon, but here and there pancake-layered outcrops reveal the typical Karoo shale and sandstone strata. Dolerite formations do break the monotony - here, the volcanic lava has thrust up through the earth, and over time been weathered into weird and wonderful shapes as the harder rock resisted the moulding and reshaping forces of wind and water. Some of these formations are highly distinctive, with names such as the Three Sisters - three similarly shaped conical hills north of Beaufort West. An enduring image of this slice of South African landscape is, here and there, a lone wind pump, like a sentinel in the crisp, eternally clear Karoo air.

KAROO NATIONAL PARK
Just north of Beaufort West stretch the plains of the Karoo National Park whose sweet grass provides fodder for many antelope species, among them harte-beest and springbok. Other wildlife has been reintroduced to the park, including black rhino, black wildebeest and Cape mountain zebra. The animal best suited to this environment is the gemsbok, with its rapier horns and its ability to endure the tough, dry conditions of the Karoo. The park has a 4x4 trail, and the Fossil (geology) and Bossie (vegetation) walking trails.

BEAUFORT WEST
The N1 is the Great North Road that connects Cape Town and Johannesburg by bisecting the Karoo. Beaufort West, the 'capital' of the Karoo region (or at least its largest town!) is located on the Nl. The town has little to commend it, other than its role as a centre of civilisation in the flat, featureless middle of nowhere. Travellers can find a basic, clean place to stay overnight, fill travel-weary turns, refuel their equally travel-weary vehicles, and then stock up with lots of treats to stave off boredom from the many hours spent on the road.

MATJIESFONTEIN
A turn-of-the-century settlement centering on the 1900 Lord Milner Hotel, the entire Matjiesfontein is a heritage site. It was all started by Scotsman James Logan in 1 883, when he established a dining place alongside the railway line in an age when trains had no dining coaches. Over time, this expanded to become a hotel, and today, the Lord Milner's decorative iron-lace verandahs and white-painted square turrets are reminiscent of that elegant time. Despite the lattice-fringed post office nearby, Matjiesfontein is, essentially, a charming hotel complex planted in the middle of the Little Karoo. The iron lace that prettifies South Africa's Victorian homes is locally termed 'broekie' lace -a reminder of the delicate lace edgings of a lady's bloomers! Matjiesfontein boasts some interesting museums (such as the Transport Museum and the Marie Rawdon Museum), while a trip around town on the local (yet authentic!) London double-decker bus is a must. [...]

This is an excerpt from Mild to Wild: Adventures and Activities in Southern Africa (MapStudio), by Fiona McIntosh.

Title: Mild to Wild: Adventures and Activities in Southern Africa
Scale: Various
Authors: Fiona McIntosh
Genre: Atlas / Travel guide
Publisher: MapStudio
Cape Town, South Africa 2013
ISBN 9781770264571 / ISBN 978-1-77026-457-1
Softcover, 21 x 29 cm, 192 pages, throughout maps and photos

McIntosh, Fiona und MapStudio im Namibiana-Buchangebot

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