Close to the entrance of the Vogelstrausskluft, right next to the old farmhouse,
a bright red sand dune seems to lean against a rock wall. It actually blocks the
access to one of the most interesting parts of the farm: An old, dried out river
valley that runs along the western edge of the plateau for 5km.
The valley once was the drain for the water that gathered in the pan
seasons. The water then searched for a way through the »dam« the plateau
here and so in the course of time dug a canyon into the rocks. The cliffs that emerged
on both sides of the rather wide canyon today rise vertically for over 30 meters in
the sky. As the climate changed and rain at the headwaters western to Bethanie became
scarce, the flow of water stopped, the lake dried up and the drain through the valley
ran dry. Today a private dam built about 30km north of the Vogelstrausskluft additionally
intensifies this development. The wind gathered sand from the surrounding plains, the
pan and the riverbed itself and heaped up huge red sand dunes that today block the
valley in several places.
The rain now is not able anymore to flow off on the surface but, like on the plateau,
forms water holes in dips that slowly ooze into the ground and build underground reservoirs
or feed subsurface flows. The sandy bottom of the valley so holds a rather luxuriant vegetation
- in Kalahari terms - with trees and bushes interrupted by fields of sand dunes.
After a rain shower the Ancient Valley awakens and changes into a colourful landscape: Countless
different flowers suddenly grow between green grass, the red sand and the rusty rocks.
Water and feed is supplied in sufficient quantity in this part of the farm. Therefore various
animals including several kinds of game can be spotted here, searching for shelter underneath
the trees or drinking at the small waterholes. Several natural passes also enable the herds of
the plateau to access the valley and use these.
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