The Karoo

"Karoo" is thought to be a Khoikhoi word meaning "Thirstland", and a very hot and dry place it certainly is.

I first had the pleasure of visiting the Karoo twenty years ago, studying Permian rocks deposited in a deep-marine setting, guided by a famous geologist, Arnold Bouma, and his colleagues.

At a place called Kagga Kamma there were old rock paintings showing animals, fused animals and humans, and lines of humans tapering in size from front to back.

How delightful then to see these Khoisan dancing in just such size-sorted lines (photo taken in April 1992). They laughed when we (two Brits and two South Africans) did our version of this dance for them.

I enjoyed rediscovering the vast views in this landscape the week before last,

and was very happy to see gemsbok moving along the Gemsbok Valley,

and an ostrich standing before the Permian rocks of the Skoorsteenberg Formation.

One of my favourite images from this trip was a group of eland, late in the afternoon, with gusts of wind suspending dust to make this interesting light. It brought back memories of eland depicted in Khoisan rock art, last seen two decades ago.


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