The Karoo can create a lifetime of memories
Vast, open landscapes dotted with hills, or koppies, with characteristic flat tops. Arid veld and cloudless blue skies. Burning heat in summer. Icy nights in winter. Small-town hospitality. Wildlife. And astonishingly clear night skies for stargazing.
The Karoo is all this – and more. If you’re a city dweller, this sprawling, semi-desert heart of South Africa is the place to visit for peace and tranquillity. Its varied vegetation means you could be spending time among impressive sand dunes, succulent plants or wild animals.
The Karoo Highlands Route meanders through small towns such as Nieuwoudtville, Calvinia, Sutherland (with its famous astronomical observatory), Carnavon, Loxton and Victoria West. Don’t miss the Oorlogskloof Nature Reserve near Nieuwoudtville for its spectacular scenery, hikes and wildlife, such as ostriches, tortoises, antelope and, if you’re lucky, a reptile or two.
The Karoo is huge – stretching 400 000km2 over several provinces, including the Northern Cape – and comprises many different types of terrain and vegetation. You don’t have to be an award-winning photographer to capture some beautiful images, so bring your camera along.
Also bring along a pair of binoculars – there will be ample opportunity to view game, spot birds and simply gaze at the distant horizon or mountains.
Agriculture is at the heart of life in the region, with sheep farming one of its mainstays. There are plenty of opportunities for visitors to experience the local lifestyle by staying in ranches and farmhouses offering overnight accommodation throughout the Karoo.
Its cultural heritage includes the legacy of the San people, with numerous sites where ancient rock art can be viewed, depicting the region’s earliest indigenous inhabitants and animals.
History buffs also have much to look forward to. The region saw many skirmishes between the Boers and British soldiers during the Anglo-Boer War, and a number of abandoned blockhouses bear testimony to this.
Don’t hesitate. Plan a trip to the Karoo for your next holiday and emerge revitalised and inspired.