I have now arrived in the Tankwa Karoo National Park. It is an area that has previously been farmed by people who must have loved hard times and isolation. Or maybe just didn't know of any other way to make a living. But they did (make a living). Rainfall is low, the earth is hard and slaty, it gets hot in summer and bitterly cold with snow in winter. The nearest 'civilisation' would be 100+ kms away and didn't necessary include medical assistance of any kind. The farmers were not so much clued up about farming methods and overgrazing happened. In such dry areas, recovery will take very, very long. As time went by, people moved away to surrounding towns and further; de-populating the Tankwa Karoo.
The Tankwa Karoo National Park (just a part of the Tankwa Karoo) was proclaimed during the 1980's in parts that were mostly idle, as far as human activity goes. Through the years that followed, some more farms were bought out and the population of the park with suitable animals started. Because of the erstwhile human activity, relics remain in the park area. Even a few farmsteads that were restored as accommodation for visitors. Aha, photo opportunities!
The Karoo concept is mind boggling and few South Africans understand it. The Karoo is a dryish area in the Western and Northern Cape provinces. The main division is between the Great Karoo and the Little Karoo. There are further divisions of these two; that are identified according to altitude, biome characteristics, etc. No clear borders exist for all these Karoo-named areas. The Tankwa Karoo is known as the area with the lowest rainfall within the SA borders. The mountains in the background are actually the drop-off from the inland plateau, which is known as the Upper Karoo and still is part of the Great Karoo.
In the picture: a windmill that drew brackish water for (mostly) sheep, when this part was still farmed. Where the khaki colours end, you can see a dust cloud that was kicked up by a passing car on a road that is just out of view. All gravel roads, with the nearest tarmac about 150kms away. I saw less than 10 cars during my 4 day stay in this park.