On This Karoo Peak You Can Taste Infinity

From the peaks in Murraysburg you can see forever.

There’s a magic mountain on one of the Murraysburg farms. It’s Toorberg, the third highest peak in the Western Cape Province. Popular with tourists, Toorberg peaks at 2,400m (7,874ft) above sea level. Early indigenous people thought the mountain, which lies on Quaggasdrift, was magic because of its rich water sources.  Streams, waterfalls and fountains, fed by the winter snows, are found all over the mountain.  It forms part of the Sneeuberg which divides the Central Karoo from the Eastern Cape.

According to Antonie Troskie, owner of Quaggasdrift,  many people climb Toorberg to enjoy the exceptional views of  the Camdeboo and 18 surrounding districts. An a clear day one can see Richmond in the north, Patensie in the south, Somerset East in the east and in the west the Nuweveld mountains beyond Beaufort West.  There are breathtaking views of famous peaks such as Compasberg, Middelburg, Noordkop, and Cockscomb. A visitor’s book, safely stored in a tin among boulders at the peak, makes fascinating reading. It is amazing how many overseas visitors have made entries in this book. Many are stunned by the sound of underground streams gurgling many meters below the surface. Some lie flat on their stomachs to peer into rock crevices, trying to catch a glimpse of these.  There are several places from where this water can be seen. “We monitored one of the fountains for a year to record its unfailing delivery of 180 000 litres an hour,” said Antonie.

Graaff-Reinet once considered harnessing Toorberg’s water, but even way back then a quote of R1m for construction dampened their enthusiasm.

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