Choose your country and language:

Africa

  • Global
  • Angola
  • Botswana
  • DRC
  • Ethiopia
  • Ghana
  • Kenya
  • Malawi
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Nigeria
  • South Africa
  • Tanzania
  • Uganda
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

Americas

  • USA
  • Argentina
  • Brazil

Asia Pacific

  • China
  • India
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • Australia

Europe

  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Netherlands
  • United Kingdom
Back
South Africa

You are only moments away

Adventure
Entertainment
Attractions
Museums
Culture
History
Food
Safari
Routes
Trails
Wine
Events
Family
Kids
Camping
Arts

FFrom the pure silence of a sheep farm to the bustle of a book festival, from a traditional Sunday lunch in a Victorian-era town to a strictly non-traditional Saturday night cabaret, and from a daisy extravaganza to a dance in the dust, the Great Karoo offers a grand, somewhat offbeat, South African overland experience.

Spanning nearly 400 000km2 in the geographic midriff of South Africa, the Great Karoo must be one of the quietest places on Earth.

It is a place of immense spaces, wide-angle horizons, craggy mountain ranges, conical hills, an ancient inland seabed, and a sky so big that at night it feels like you can touch the stars. The Great Karoo stands proudly with other desert tourism regions like the Australian Outback, and Arizona and New Mexico in the United States, and makes for a memorable road trip.

It seems you could travel for months in and about the towns of the Great Karoo and have a different experience in each one.

Did You Know?
WWatch a sunset thunderhead gathering over the village of Aberdeen after a blazing hot midsummer’s day and toast life on the open road.

WWatch a sunset thunderhead gathering over the village of Aberdeen after a blazing hot midsummer’s day and toast life on the open road.

The Great Karoo

Food
When to visit
How to get here

SStand still in the Matjiesfontein military graveyard and try to hear the strains of the lone Highland piper, who is said to be playing Scotland the Brave for all time.

Head for the mountain settlement of Nieu Bethesda in winter time (May to August) and hunker down with a Karoo Ale at the Sneeuberg Brewery.

Share a traditional Karoo supper at the Victoria Manor Hotel in Cradock, where you can also watch the supremely fit canoe paddlers compete in the Fish River Canoe Marathon.

Go on a book safari in the Northern Cape town of Richmond, where the printed word still rules.

Stride the streets of Colesberg on a walking tour of this Victorian-era town and venture out on the Gariep Route, staying over at the most eccentrically stylish hotel in the region.

Enjoy a Saturday night cabaret in the Karoo Theatrical Hotel outside the mohair town of Steytlerville, and be entertained by a concert pianist and an exotic singer named Dame Layla Lamborghini.

Sit with astronomers on a hill outside Sutherland, home of the Southern African Large Telescope, and relish the heavens above.

Visit the seven radio dishes out at the Square Kilometre Array near Carnarvon and imagine the day when more than 2500 of these wonderful techno beasts will be swaying in unison, listening to the universe.

Hear all about the endangered riverine rabbit in Loxton; join the Nama Riel dancers at the Williston Festival in the Upper Karoo; and drive to Calvinia to catch the seasonal display of spring daisies, perhaps the greatest free show on Earth.

HHave a sundowner with your favourite person at a spot overlooking Graaff-Reinet and the Valley of Desolation, giving you an eagle’s-eye view of the vastness of the Karoo.

Go fossil fossicking in the Karoo National Park outside Beaufort West, and antique-chasing in a specialty store in Willowmore before entering the Baviaanskloof Wilderness Area, famous for its mountainous, rugged terrain and adventure tourism activities.

Enjoy Prince Albert, gateway to the Great Karoo, at Olive Festival time, and listen to the happy gurgle of the water furrows as you sit on your stoep (verandah) on a warm summer’s evening.

And then turn your car around, grab the road map and choose a different route all together...

Who to contact
How to get here
Best time to visit
Tours to do
Get around
What will it cost
Length to stay
What to pack
Where to stay

Related articles

Breathtaking scenery

Paternoster - a definitive Cape West Coast fishing village

Breathtaking scenery
Paternoster - a definitive Cape West Coast fishing village

Paternoster is a peaceful town lined with fishermen’s cottages, where great seafood and the local lifestyle become all-consuming pastimes.

Breathtaking scenery

The fascination of South African cave adventures

Breathtaking scenery
The fascination of South African cave adventures

South Africa offers a variety of caves for you to explore, from hominid fossil sites and ancient San cave paintings.

Breathtaking scenery

There’s so much to do in Franschhoek

Breathtaking scenery
There’s so much to do in Franschhoek

Let’s be honest, you are probably here to drink wine. Whether you’re at a wedding, on a family outing, a friends’ get together or a romantic weekend away, it’s most likely that you will land up at one of the amazing wine farms in the area.

Breathtaking scenery

The Cango caves - this 4500-million-year-old cave of stalactites and stalagmites will astound you

Breathtaking scenery
The Cango caves - this 4500-million-year-old cave of stalactites and stalagmites will astound you

Open throughout the year, take the tour into the cave to view the various formations of dripstones and learn more about the people who lived here over the millennia.

Breathtaking scenery

The Western Cape and its 10 most beautiful natural attractions

Breathtaking scenery
The Western Cape and its 10 most beautiful natural attractions

Ten most beautiful natural attractions that the Western Cape has to offer.

Breathtaking scenery

Explore the verdant dappled light of South African forests

Breathtaking scenery
Explore the verdant dappled light of South African forests

Explore verdant dappled light of South African forests.

Breathtaking scenery

Adventure in style through Southern Africa with the Shongololo Express

Breathtaking scenery
Adventure in style through Southern Africa with the Shongololo Express

There's something so peaceful, adventurous and yet cosseting about luxury train travel in South Africa, and the Shongololo Express is no exception.

Breathtaking scenery

Hiking the Cape West Coast

Breathtaking scenery
Hiking the Cape West Coast

The West Coast of South Africa offers many excellent hiking trails where the pace of life is slow, because the joy is in the journey, not the arrival.

Breathtaking scenery

Under an African sky - the Southern African Large Telescope

Breathtaking scenery
Under an African sky - the Southern African Large Telescope

You cannot visit the Northern Cape without going on a stargazing safari!

Breathtaking scenery

Discover nature’s full majesty at Kirstenbosch Gardens.

Breathtaking scenery
Discover nature’s full majesty at Kirstenbosch Gardens.

Kirstenbosch Gardens are one of South Africa’s oldest national botanical gardens and can be found on the slopes of Table Mountain.

Breathtaking scenery

Travellers encouraged to do #WaterWiseTourism in South Africa

Breathtaking scenery
Travellers encouraged to do #WaterWiseTourism in South Africa

Water scarcity does not mean you should delay or cancel your trip – South Africa is ready to welcome you on a once in a lifetime adventure while encouraging visitors to use water responsibly when travelling through our beautiful country.

Breathtaking scenery

Cape Town’s special drive – Chapman’s Peak

Breathtaking scenery
Cape Town’s special drive – Chapman’s Peak

Chapman’s Peak Drive on the Atlantic Coast, between Hout Bay and Noordhoek in the Cape Peninsula, is one of the most spectacular marine drives in the world.

Breathtaking scenery

Stellenbosch – a town on the scenic countryside of the Western Cape

Breathtaking scenery
Stellenbosch – a town on the scenic countryside of the Western Cape

Stellenbosch is internationally renowned for its beautiful environment, wine farms, street cafés, restaurants, quality wines, historical buildings and its famous university.

Breathtaking scenery

Company’s Garden, Cape Town

Breathtaking scenery
Company’s Garden, Cape Town

Company's Garden in Cape Town is a great place for travellers to spend a few hours unwinding and exploring the natural, historical and architectural attractions.

Breathtaking scenery

Where breathtaking nature stretches out in every direction

Breathtaking scenery
Where breathtaking nature stretches out in every direction

Let us introduce you to our places of wonder that make us swell with pride and take our breaths away again and again.

Breathtaking scenery

Wonderful winelands – Stellenbosch and Franschhoek

Breathtaking scenery
Wonderful winelands – Stellenbosch and Franschhoek

Just head on over to Franschhoek or Stellenbosch (or both) where you can sip, swirl and swallow your way through some of the best wines South Africa has to offer.

Breathtaking scenery

The Cape Whale Route – whales, wine and wonder

Breathtaking scenery
The Cape Whale Route – whales, wine and wonder

The route offers some of the best land-based whale watching spots on the planet, but it doesn’t stop there.

Breathtaking scenery

Table Mountain – South Africa’s most iconic landmark

Breathtaking scenery
Table Mountain – South Africa’s most iconic landmark

South Africa’s best-known landmark, but what many people don’t know is that it’s also a hiker’s paradise with numerous trails, amazing views and plenty of interesting things to learn

Breathtaking scenery

Swim in a sea of flowers in Namaqua National Park

Breathtaking scenery
Swim in a sea of flowers in Namaqua National Park

From horizon-to-horizon, orange daisies take over the Namaqua National Park in spring.

Breathtaking scenery

See the best of the Great Karoo in Graaff-Reinet

Breathtaking scenery
See the best of the Great Karoo in Graaff-Reinet

The Karoo town of Graaff-Reinet is the fourth-oldest settlement in South Africa and has seen more than two centuries of travellers, adventurers and prospectors pass through its streets. Today it is a vibrant centre for tourism, game farming and traditional agriculture.

Breathtaking scenery

South Africa's Cape Floral Region

Breathtaking scenery
South Africa's Cape Floral Region

Accounting for less than 0.5% of the continent of Africa, the Cape Floral Region holds an astonishing 20% of its flora.

Copyright © 2018 South African Tourism
|Terms and conditions|Disclaimer|Privacy policy