Imagine bright stars, pristine landscapes, and roads that go on and on and on… The Cape Karoo’s windmill-peppered landscapes inspire poetry, with its rough and rugged terrain straight out of the movies. It’s a place of incredible beauty, wild game, clear skies and starry nights.
Some of the bigger towns include Beaufort West, Prince Albert, Touwsriver, Matjiesfontein, and Murraysburg.
The Swartberg Pass
Built by Thomas Bain in the 1800s, the Swartberg Pass is an incredible sight. With its highest point at 1585m above sea level, you will be blown away by the breathtaking views of the Klein and Groot Karoo. A world heritage site, there are several activities available to guests, such as, sundowner or sunrise trips over the pass allow visitors to explore the area, taking in the geology and huge variety of flora and fauna. The Swartberg Mountain Circular Route runs all the way through to Prince Albert.
Lord Milner Hotel | Matjiesfontein
Take a step back into time and visit the charming Victorian town of Matjiesfontein. Fondly known as “The Grand Duchess of the Karoo”, the town was established in the year of 1884. The whole town of Matjiesfontein is a national monument and is believed to be one of the most haunted places in South Africa. And there is no better place to base yourself for the first half of your visit to the Karoo. The Lord Milner Hotel is a popular attraction as well as the London Red Bus, which will take you on the shortest tour in the country accompanied by the local tour guide, Johnnie, this humorous and informative tour is a must when visiting. Lasting no longer than 10 minutes, you will be back in no time for a quiet pint at the Laird’s Arms pub right next door to the hotel.
The Ghost Walk | Prince Albert
Discover village treasures and hidden skeletons, or uncover the Ghosts of Prince Albert, during this walking tour. Bookings are essential.
African Relish | Prince Albert
Learn how to cook Karoo classics, forage for local ingredients, or tour through the history and artisanal products of Prince Albert.
The Showroom | Prince Albert
This art deco gem is the last thing you would expect to find in the Karoo. The venue can be used as a theatre, cinema, gallery, seminar venue, and in the future, a film school. Make sure to check the website before you head out and you could catch a movie or a show at this gorgeous theatre.
Beaufort West Museum
The Beaufort West Museum complex consists of three buildings, all national monuments, namely the Old Dutch Reformed Mission Church and rectory and the old town hall of the town, built in 1866. The museum houses the Chris Barnard Original collection. Rev Adam Barnard, father of the world-famous heart surgeon Prof Chris Barnard, served the community as a missionary and he and his family lived in the rectory next to the Dutch Reformed Mission Church.
The Old Town Hall houses two exhibitions namely the Chris Barnard and Medical Science Exhibition and the Beaufort Pictorial which depicts the development of Beaufort West through the years.
The Mission Church hosts a permanent exhibition that displays a collection of personal memories about Beaufort West Dutch Reformed Mission congregation until its forced removal to a coloured group area in the late 60's.
Karoo National Park | Beaufort West
Founded in 1979, this national park is home to approximately 63 species of mammals and 200 species of birdlife. The park is also an important refuge for the highly endangered riverine rabbit which is endemic to the dry river courses of the Great Karoo.
The “Gateway to the Karoo” | Touws River
As the first town of the Karoo, coming from the Cape, it is known as the “Gateway to the Karoo” and driving the other direction: “Gateway to the Boland”. This town once played a crucial role in the developing railway sector of South Africa, hence still known as a railway town.