Did you know?
Ostrich meat is commonly eaten in the Karoo and is one of the leanest forms of red meat.
Karoo attractions fall within a semi-desert region divided into the arid northern Great Karoo and more temperate southern Little Karoo.
The gateway to the Karoo, South Africa, is Beaufort West. A typical small platteland town and the oldest in the Karoo, Beaufort West was founded in 1818 to establish order in a region of outlaws, smugglers, explorers, and adventurers. The historic town centre reflects its eclectic past, with Victorian, Georgian, Edwardian, Romanesque, Cape Dutch, Neo-Goth, Neo-Classic and Contemporary architecture, and typical Karoo cottages. Walking is a cultural experience; stay and you will be overwhelmed with the hospitality you encounter along the way. Hospitality is a major Karoo attraction, rare in the world today.
Outside Beaufort West lies the Great Karoo National Park. This 75 000ha reserve hosts the riverine rabbit and black rhinoceros, both retrieved from the brink of extinction, as well as the descendants of the quagga - which did become extinct in 1883, only to be re-bred, incredibly, from genetic codes taken from a stuffed quagga in a museum. These marvels aside, the park also has abundant wildlife and birdlife. The Ou Schuur Information Centre will fill you in on the region's cultural and ecological history, from dinosaurs down to the local ghosts. The park caters for immobile and unsighted people.
South of Beaufort West lies the Little Karoo, a fertile valley bounded by the Swartberg, Langeberg and Outeniqua mountains. Take Route 62, a celebrated meander down the longest wine route in South Africa. Charming towns in valley after valley offer the best in Karoo tourism: hiking, mountain climbing, 4x4 trails, canoeing, horse and ostrich riding, fishing, caving, and even hot springs. Be sure to stop at Oudtshoorn for perhaps the most famous of Karoo attractions, the Cango Caves with its spectacular limestone formations, and the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival, an international event that unites some 10 000 art-lovers every March / April.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Northern Cape Tourism Authority
Tel: +27 53 832 2657