Destinations & Attractions in Karoo, in Cape Town

Karoo Destinations & Attractions

The Little Karoo, better known to locals as the Klein Karoo, is the portion of the greater semi-desert area that is situated in the Western Cape. It is, obviously, smaller than its more northern counterpart. Discovered by settlers from Europe during the late-1600’s, this part of South Africa was originally inhabited by the indigenous folk of the country; namely the Khoi. Therefore, the Klein Karoo has a long and intriguing history.

More than this, it has a very specific type of natural beauty that is simultaneously unique and awe-inspiring. It may be arid, littered with cacti and other succulents, but there are plenty of green oases that are nestled on extensive, red-sand plains that are simply beautiful to look at. The weather conditions in the Klein Karoo can be extreme. Summers are hot and dry, frequently exceeding 30 degrees Celsius. Winter, on the other hand, may bring snow, particularly to the mountain tops.

One of the most significant towns in the Little Karoo is Oudtshoorn, which has earned its popularity for a number of reasons. It is known as Ostrich Country, and any variety of ostrich leather goods are found here. Many providers offer ostrich rides and tours of their tanneries. The Cango Caves are a spectacular ode to nature’s scale and power. This series of caves has been preserved to allow visitors to get a sense of “what lies beneath.” Tours through the cave reveal specially lit portions, and the tales of centuries ago, when they were first discovered. There are also tour options for the more adventurous, who want to squeeze through tight sections and brave long passages on their haunches. An annual event that brings hundreds of thousands of visitors streaming into the quiet, quaint town of Oudtshoorn is the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival (Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees, or KKNK). This is dedicated to the art, music and performance of the Afrikaans culture and is festive and fun for the whole family.

Calitzdorp is known and loved for its top-notch port wines. However, there are many red and white wines that are also produced in this area and are widely enjoyed. This is a small town, but its surrounding landscape leave visitors in awe of its beauty. This landscape also ensures that there is plenty to do; including hiking, walking, cycling, 4x4, rock climbing, or simply enjoying family time in the exquisite outdoors.

Deep within the picturesque Tradouw Valley lies the little town of Barrydale, right at the foot of the Langeberg Mountains. There is a sense of peace and tranquillity in every aspect of Barrydale, setting the perfect scene for holiday-makers that need to refresh and rejuvenate themselves while enjoying the splendour of the outdoors.

Other major towns in the Little Karoo are Prince Albert, Ladismith, Laingsburg, De Rust and Beaufort West.

Amalienstein and Zoar

It is difficult to talk about Zoar or Amalienstein separately, so interwoven are these sister towns. They lie adjacent to one another on Route 62 at the entrance to the Sewe Weeks Poort (Amalienstein is the one with the ...

Barrydale

The hub of brandy and wine production in the Karoo, Barrydale enjoys its idyllic location and the foot of the Langeberg Mountain Range. This pretty little village boasts an interesting history, which permeates its architecture ...

Beaufort West

Beaufort West is in the heart of the Karoo, and has an eerie allure that is, no doubt, created by its prehistoric beauty and import. Its architecture is quite out of the ordinary, and unexpected for a quiet little Karoo town. ...

Calitzdorp

Calitzdorp is part of the ever-popular Route 62, stretching between Port Elizabeth and Cape Town. It is surrounded by massive mountain ranges and is known as the South African heart of port wine production ...

De Doorns

De Doorns lies on the main route to and from Cape Town, Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth. With its wide range of service and commercial facilities, De Doorns has become the business and shopping centre for the entire valley and ...

De Rust

The quaint little Victorian town of De Rust, on Route 62, is conveniently positioned at the southern entrance to Meiringspoort - a magnificent gorge through the Swartberg Mountain Range - and just a few kilometres from ...

De Vlugt

Roughly halfway along Prince Alfred Pass (R339), as it descends to meet the river, is the historical hamlet of De Vlugt. Also know as Die Vlug, De Vlugt is what remains of the dwellings of Andrew Geddes Bain and his son, Thomas, ...

Herold

Deep within the mountains of the Klein Karoo is the magnificent little hamlet of Herold. The slow pace is quite contagious but, for those who want to explore the surrounds, there are plenty of things to do and see here ...

Klaarstroom

Klaarstroom is a very small village, set against the backdrop of the Swartberg Mountain Range, where time seems to have stood immobile and traditional farming methods are still used. This is a fabulous destination for those ...

Ladismith

Ladismith is a picturesque farming town that is well known for its dairy, grapes, mutton flowers and wine. The Towerkop Mountain is its backdrop, and provides visitors with plenty of hiking, walking and cycling trails, immersing ...

Laingsburg

Laingsburg may be small, but it is very valuable in terms of its geological history and its natural beauty. Its mountainous landscapes make Laingsburg perfect for avid hikers and cyclists as well as those that simply favour the ...

Matjiesfontein

The entire little town of Matjiesfontein is a National Monument. It is made more charming by its Victorian-style architecture, which gives it a distinctly colonial look and feel. It is off the beaten track, small and quiet, ...

Murraysburg

The foothills of the Sneeuberg Mountain Range are home to the old-fashioned town of Murraysburg. The homes are large and welcoming, with beautiful gardens and magnificent views of the Karoo. Filled with character and intrigue, ...

Oudtshoorn

Known as Ostrich Country, Oudtshoorn is a cultural and natural attraction that continues to lure tourists from all over the world. The farmlands and vineyards are magnificent and the Swartberg Mountain Range impressive. One of ...

Prince Albert

The historical town of Prince Albert was established in the mid-18th century and, in addition to having a fascinating heritage, is just beautiful. Its proximity to the Swartberg Mountains has ensured that it is popular for ...

Rouxpos

Rouxpos is one of those little Karoo towns that has managed, despite the penchant for second homes in available little dorps within a couple of hours of major cities, to remain in relative obscurity. You will not find it on ...

Sanbona

The Sanbona Wildlife Reserve enjoys all of the splendour of this untouched region, and is home to an impressive variety of plant and animal species. The elusive white lion can sometimes be spotted roaming the pretty plains, ...

Touws River

Touws River is a small town that is flanked by the Outeniqua and Langeberg Mountain Ranges. It is pretty, and popular for being such a close retreat for those living the city life in Cape Town. It is bursting with history too, ...

Uniondale

Uniondale is a lovely town in the heart of the Little Karoo, known for its eccentric, loveable locals. It is set within the awe-inspiring mountain ranges of this area, and is famous for its excellent trails and unrivalled vistas ...

Van Wyksdorp

The little Karoo village of Van Wyksdorp lies on the R327 from Ladismith, just off the famous R62, in the foothills of the Rooiberg Mountains. It's the kind of town people describe as a typical Karoo 'dorp' - a rural town in ...
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