|Patagonia region in Argentina|
Patagonia is divided into 3 regions (Eastern Patagonia, Western Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego) with 5 provinces (Neuquén Province, Río Negro Province, Chubut Province, Santa Cruz Province and Tierra del Fuego Province).
|Perito Moreno Glacier in the Santa Cruz Province|
I have had the privilege to visit two provinces over the last couple of years and we are planning to visit another this year. For me, Patagonia must be one of the most beautiful places on earth.
|Rio Negro province in Patagonia|
It is very difficult to describe to people what makes it so beautiful. Each region is different in its own unique way. They offer the tourist a lot of opportunities to experience nature at its best.
|Villa La Angostura in the Neuquen Province|
|Tierra del Fuego Province|
But there is so more to Patagonia than just nature, sea lions, whales, orcas and glaciers. It was also home to the first Indian people. The history surrounding the Indian people have fascinated me for a long time. I have recently published a review about the “Regional Museum in El Calafate” and the response was overwhelming. People wanted to know more. That included me!
|Whale watching in the Chubut Province|
My reasons are also of a personal nature. A big group of South African farmers settled in Patagonia more than a century ago. They were Afrikaans speaking, like me. I knew so very little of their existence and wanted to learn more. So let’s start at the beginning.
The name “Patagonia”
Several indigenous groups lived in this region before the Spaniards arrived. The Yámanas, Onas or Selknam were in Tierra del Fuego and other groups included The Pehuenches, Mapuches and Tehuelches.
It is said that Patagonia owes its name to the Tehuelches. Apparently they were very tall and with a well developed physique so the Spaniards called them “Patagones”, relating them to a giant called “Patagón”, a very popular character in some novels of those times.
|The Tehuelche Tribe|
Another story make reference to the Tehuelches, but in this case it says that the name comes from the huge tracks they left on the snow, due in part to their physique and also to the fact that they covered their feet with skins.
One thing I am sure of…Patagonia leaves deep footprints in your heart!