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A Green Oasis of a Garden in South Africa’s Arid Northern Cape

Given how unforgiving the terrain of South Africa’s Northern Cape can be, the incredible gardens at Mauritzfontein are an absolute wonder. Developed almost 70 years ago, initially as part of a large horse farm, its existence alone is an amazing feat and its evolution to suit its environment is a fascinating story. Positioned between the two most extreme climatic regions in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa, the stud farm and gardens at Mauritzfontein are a green oasis sandwiched between the Kalahari Desert to the north and the vast, arid Karoo to the south. The immediate terrain consists of vast plains of low grass, punctuated by boulders and rocky hills known as koppies. Stone stairs and pathways, built from naturally occurring dolerite rock, lead from the main lawn to the woodland and succulent gardens. Known in Afrikaans as ysterklip, the red stone is a signature feature. Paths meander and drift in and out – as does select planting of aloes and other species that have been allowed to push out into the wild, defying the original boundaries and blurring the lines between garden and veld.