Open Africa
Open Africa

Karoo Highlands Route


Attractions

Wagenaarskraal Heritage Museum
This historical farm has been farmed by the MacRobert family since 1870. Apart from running a shop for the neighbourhood...

Victoria West Museum
This museum consists of three halls: The BJ Kempen Hall (Fossil Hall) covering the pre- and natural history of the Ka...


Features

   Accommodation

Below is a list of accommodation establishments along this route. Bookings and enquiries can be made directly with the establishment.

Blikskottel B&B and Rustic Art
Rustic Art offers an interesting variety of rustic art and antiques.  They can accommodate guests in a self-caterin...

Little Green World
Little Green World offers accommodation in a charming little self-catering cottage in a quiet corner of a tree-filled ga...

Daven @ Downes Luxury Farmstay
Daven @ Downes offer self-catering accommodation in five en-suite rooms each with it’s own entrance. Guests are s...

Die Kuierhoekie Self-Catering Guesthouse
Die Kuierhoekie Self-Catering Guesthouse offers accommodation in two comfortable en-suite rooms. Each room has a kettle...

Jakhalsdans Guesthouse and Safaris
Jakhalsdans is a fully operational sheep and game farm. You will feel right at home surrounded by wide open spaces, an a...

Soek 'n Slapie Guesthouse
Guests will feel right at home in this comfortable six en-suite bedroom guesthouse. All rooms have their own entrances a...

Kweekwa Guest Farms
Kweekwa Guest Farms is situated in the heart of the Karoo. The farm has been in the family for 157 years and the current...

Galileo Cottage
In 1609 Galileo Galilei made a public demonstration of the first scientifically constructed telescope. Today, thousands...

Annie's Inn B&B
A supreme welcome awaits you when you stay at Annie’s Inn B&B. This is a ‘home away from home’ and...

Biesiespoort Farm Tours
Biesiespoort offers accommodation in a self-catering guesthouse that sleeps six people.Karoo- and game meat are also sol...

Calvinia Guesthouse
Calvinia Guesthouse is a wheelchair-friendly facility and offers two accommodation options: Flat:  A flat with one...

Karoo Cottage
Karoo Cottage offers self-catering accommodation in the town of Loxton with its quiet streets and laid back atmosphere....

Karoo Gateway Guesthouse and Airport
Here guests can relax in absolute peace and tranquillity. Guests are treated with excellent service by friendly staff th...

Katryn's B&B
Katryn's is a unique bed and breakfast halfway between Cape Town and Upington. Facilities include en-suite rooms, air-co...

Leeu Gamka Country Lodge
Accommodation is offered in seven en-suite bedrooms and guests are treated with true Karoo hospitality.Delicious Karoo c...

Lord Carnarvon Guesthouse
Lord Carnarvon Guesthouse offers accommodation in eight air-conditioned rooms. There is a lounge, satellite television a...

Lord Carnarvon Small Hotel
Lord Carnarvon Small Hotel is located in the centre of town near the local Spar and pharmacy. The hotel boasts an exquis...

Lubbe Street Self-Catering
This establishment is situated in a quiet residential suburb well away from the busy N1 highway. Accommodation is offer...

Matoppo Inn Guesthouse
Matoppo aan de Wagenweg is a beautifully restored building dating back to the 17th century. It is situated within a spra...

Primrose Cottage
A stone cottage set on grounds with fruit trees and grapevines. There is an en-suite double bedroom, a twin bedded room...

Rietjieshuis Cultural Tours and Eco Lodge
The Rietjieshuis Eco Lodge is a small tourism operation by a local group of women situated on the communal farm, Melkkra...

Riverine Rabbit Retreat
Riverine Rabbit Retreat offers accommodation in a self-catering farmhouse with five bedrooms. The house comfortably slee...

Rooiheuwel Holiday Farm
Rooiheuwel Holiday Farm is a self-catering Karoo guest farm situated in the beautiful surroundings of the escarpment of...

Sutherland Guesthouse
Sutherland Guesthouse offers warm and friendly accommodation in Sutherland. There is one en-suite double bedroom with a...

The Galaxy
The Galaxy is a restored Victorian house built from local sandstone. The house has high ceilings of Oregon pine, large s...

The Shed Farmstall and Accommodation
This establishment offers peaceful accommodation on a working farm. There is a farmstall on the premises that sells Karo...

The Vale Karoo Farm
The Vale is a working Karoo farm and one of South Africa’s top Dorper sheep stud farms. Farming activities are div...

Toekoms Farm Accommodation
Accommodation on Toekoms Farm is offered in a spacious guesthouse with four bedrooms. Two of the bedrooms are en-suite a...

Van Zijl Guesthouses
These guesthouses have been beautifully restored showcasing the typical Nieuwoudtville architecture and stone masonry. T...

Witbank Farm
Witbank is the perfect location for a family farm breakaway. They offer accommodation in a farmhouse with electricity an...

Ymansdam Camping
Ymansdam Camping is situated near the Tankwa Karoo National Park at the foot of the Roggeveld Mountain, 90km from Calvin...

Toevlug Guest Farm
Toevlug Guest Farm is fully equipped for self-catering guests and provides an authentic farm experience. The farmstyle h...

The Jupiter Guesthouse and Restaurant
The Jupiter is a family-style restaurant with a licensed pub serving proper South African dishes. Established in 2003, t...

Young's Halfway House
Young’s Halfway House was established in 1970 when the owners, Terence and Ria Young, built the first 15 rooms. To...

Suretta's B&B
Suretta's B&B is located directly on the main road (N1) and a very popular stopover for travellers. It is close to t...

Elim Guesthouse
Elim Guesthouse forms part of the farm Ramskop. This farm served as a safe haven for many people during the Anglo Boer W...

Orion Farmstay
This is a four bedroom house with four double and two single beds. There is one bathroom with a bath, a big kitchen and...

Loeriesfontein Hotel and Restaurant
Loeriesfontein Hotel and Restaurant offers a fully licensed bar, accommodation, dinner, lunches and scrumptious breakfas...

Wa-Pad Guesthouse B&B
Wa-Pad Guesthouse B&B is situated on the edge of a 'vlei'. This sandstone cottage and three fully equipped self-cate...

Welgemoed Guest Farm
Welgemoed Guest Farm is located 48km from Sutherland. This is a very neat and spacious farmhouse that offers accommodati...

Grasberg Guest Farm
Grasberg is a beautiful farm with old sandstone buildings, a rich history and a wide range of bulb plants and wildflower...

Doringboom Guesthouse
Doringboom Guesthouse is a lovely little cottage sleeping six guests. It is situated in Sutherland on a working farm. Th...

Alpha B&B
Alpha B&B offers accommodation in two en-suite bedrooms. All rooms have electric blankets and heaters. There is also...

Olive Grove Guest Farm
Olive Grove offers accommodation in seven self-catering chalets on the farm. There is a restaurant and bar on the premis...

Travalia Guest Farm
Travalia Guest Farm is situated on a farm near Three Sisters, Beaufort West and Victoria West. With a peaceful atmospher...

Viltra Inn
Viltra Inn offers accommodation in spacious rooms that are equipped with a kitchenette and their own entrances. Safe off...

Ye Olde Thatch
Ye Olde Thatch is located in the main road of Beaufort West, the only Cape Dutch thatched roofed house. The oasis garden...

The Calvinian Country Lodge & Myl 250 Restaurant
The Calvinian Country Lodge & Myl 250 Restaurant is a 120 seater a-la-carte restaurant. Our accommodation sleeps up...

Pane Vivente Garden Cottage
Set in a peaceful lush garden, the well appointed cottage allows you to totally unwind from your trip so that you are re...

Rooi Granaat Guesthouse
Rooi Granaat Guesthouse offers comfortable accommodation in Loxton. Accommodation: The first two units are identical f...

Andromeda
Andromeda is named after a constellation in the Northern sky. It is derived from a princess in the Greek legend of Persu...

Skitterland Guesthouse
A little history: Skitterland, previously known as ‘Hibernia’ or the ‘Doktershuis’, dates back...

The Artist Cottage
This cottage is one of the oldest houses in town. It is a typical Karoo style building which has been renovated with mod...

Witfontein Farm Guesthouse
A comfortable, cosy little farmhouse, 80m from the main house, is available exclusively to you and ensures total privacy...

Rooikloof Guest Farm
This is the perfect venue for a weekend or holiday getaway for families or even a group of friends. Spend a couple of ni...

Blesfontein Guest Farm
  Separate self-catering living unit in the old farm house for five guests: This unit is fully equipped for self-...

Stêrboom Guesthouse
Stêrboom Guesthouse is located only 30km from Sutherland. This house has two bedrooms and can accommodate 6-7 peop...

Verlatenkloof Guest Farm
On Verlatenkloof Farm you can enjoy the peace and quiet of the spectacular Karoo scenery. Relax and restore your soul, r...

Jakkalsdans Guest Farm
Facilities: Spacious, self-catering, fully equipped farmhouse with five bedrooms sleeping 10 people; Farm style kitc...

Skurweberg 4x4 and Guest Farm
Skurweberg is a holiday farm with 4x4 driving for all skill levels and enough activities to keep the whole family amused...

Rhenoster Valley Guest Farm
Come and experience the tranquillity and nostalgia of an old-fashioned farmstead with oil lamps and candles. You will fi...

Ou Tuin Country Lodge
Ou Tuin Country Lodge offers accommodation in a self-catering house with four bedrooms that consist of three double and...

Die Lapa
Experience a rustic night between the koppies (hills) of the Karoo. Die Lapa, an ironstone hut, blends perfectly with th...

Magrieta's Guesthouse
A guesthouse in Carnarvon that offers comfortable accommodation to travellers. 

Middelwater Campsite
Facilities: Campsite; Braai (barbeque) area; Restrooms with warm water. Activities: Swimming in the farm dam;...

Osfontein Corbelled Guesthouse
Osfontein Corbelled Guesthouse offers accommodation in a beautiful house. There is one bedroom with a double bed and the...

Melton Wold Guest Farm
Melton Wold is a working sheep farm and offers a complete holiday venue away from the rush of the big city life.Accommod...

Die Pophuis Hoekie B&B
Die Pophuis Hoekie B&B offers accommodation in eight self-catering Karoo cottages that sleeps 34 people altogether.&...

Karoo Koelte B&B
Karoo Koelte B&B is an old homestead situated in the village of Victoria West between Moonlight Hill and Victoria We...

De Oude Pastorie Guesthouse
De Oude Pastorie Guesthouse is situated within walking distance from all shops and main attractions in Victoria West. Th...

De Oude Scholen B&B
Victoria West is in the heart of the Karoo, approximately 615km from Cape Town. The area boasts a fantastic variety of b...

Liza's B&B
Liza's B&B offer guests comfortable, self-catering accommodation with a secure lock-up garage.  Accommodation i...

Marceilles Guest Farmhouse
Marceilles is a fully equipped self-catering farmhouse situated on a Karoo farm, only 6km outside Victoria West.

Victoria Wes Gastehuis (Guesthouse)
A safe, peaceful retreat in the middle of the Karoo surrounded by koppies (hills). Situated in a beautiful old historica...

GaMamadi Guest Farm
GaMamadi Guest Farm is situated near Three Sisters. It is an operational Merino sheep and Mohair goats farm.  GaMam...

Elandsrus Country Lodge
Elandsrus Country Lodge offers accommodation in two houses. You will feel right at home in one of the four luxurious en-...

Skietkuil B&B
Skietkuil B&B offers comfortable, affordable accommodation in a tranquil Karoo setting. This is the perfect place to...

Desert Dew Guesthouse
Facilities, services and activities: Accommodation; Hiking; Mountain biking; 4x4 Routes; Bird-watching; Full tim...

Rietpoort Herberg/Inn
Accommodation is offered in family rooms. All rooms have private bathrooms. There is also a self-catering flat on the pr...

Leeuwfontein Guest Farmhouse
This house offers an escape for those in need of some time-out from the rush of everyday life. The scenic surroundings s...

Karoo Farm Holiday
  Sakrivierspoort: A self-catering Karoo farmhouse that sleeps ten people. Amandelboom: A self-catering...

The 3 Chimneys Guesthouse
The 3 Chimneys Guesthouse is a charming Victorian Villa, built in 1900 and is packed full of original features such as,...

Haus Holzapfel
Marion and Zwingli have created a charming home in a peaceful setting with a beautiful garden for discerning guests who...

Ko-Ka Tsara Bush Camp
Accommodation is provided in seven stylishly decorated chalets built from timber, stone and thatch. The chalets are full...

Kingwill's Guesthouse
Kingwill’s Guesthouse offers accommodation in four cottages that were built in the late 1800’s. These cottag...

Die Ark B&B
Facilities: Air-conditioning; Satellite television; Splash pool; Lapa and braai (barbeque) area; and Dinner and l...

Williston B&B and Zakrivier Succulent Nursery
Items for sale: Succulent plants; Homemade jams; Hand spun wool and knitted articles; Home baked rusks; and Skuin...

Rooi Granaat Guesthouse
Guests can enjoy a comfortable stay in this guesthouse with three bedrooms, full bathroom, dining room, lounge and kitch...

The Whitehouse Inn
The Whitehouse Inn is situated in the main road of Sutherland and within easy walking distance from all restaurants and...

Karoo Backpackers
  Accomodation at Karoo Backpackers ranges from single rooms to dormitary rooms. All rooms in this wonderfully res...

Out of Africa Guesthouses
  Out of Africa flats:  Eight self-catering flats. These flats are situated in Zahn Street, 1km from the ce...

Kambro Kind B&B and Middelfontein Farm
Juanita offers accommodation at Kambro Kind B&B in town or Middelfontein Farm (1.3km outside of town). Kambro Kind...

Assendelft Lodge & Bush Camp
Assendelft Lodge & Bush Camp is the ideal overnight stop for long distance travellers. For those with more time at h...

Jo's Guesthouse and Hantam Kraal Restaurant
Facilities: DSTV; Coffee/tea facilities; Fridges; Restaurant with open fire; Swimming pool; Conference facilitie...

   Activities

Below is a list of arts and crafts outlets and projects on this route. Booking and enquiries can be made directly with the business.

Karoo Birding Safaris
Karoo Birding Safaris is a birding tour operator in Beaufort West. They offer tours that include visits to neighbouring...

Papkuilsfontein Guest Farm
Things to do at Papkuilsfontein: Canyon and Waterfall: Farm Tour - As a service to our guests, Papkuilsfontein now pro...

Die Madeliefies Singing Group
Die Madeliefies is a singing group of four children that performs to tourists.

Karoo Reisen
Karoo Reisen offers round and day trips in and around the Karoo for groups of up to 22 people. Family tours can also be...

Nuweplaas Farm
Facilities and activities at Nuweplaas Farm: Visit Vlakfontein waterfall only 1.5km from the farm; Experience the mo...

Willemsrivier
Activities: Willemrivier Trekpad - Flower Route: On the Willemsrivier Trekpad Route you will find interesting colour v...

Brandkop Guest Farm
Brandkop Guest Farm welcomes visitors to come and enjoy the day to day activities on the farm. Some of these include:...

Williston Mall
Williston Mall hosts a variety of shops such as: A coffee shop; Restaurant; Take-away outlets; Succulent nursery;...

Victoria West Golf Club
An 18-hole golf course in Victoria West with a clubhouse and bar facilities.

African Kombi Tours - Donkey Cart Project
African Kombi Tours is an English- and German-speaking tour operator that is based in the Great Karoo, a semi-arid regio...

   Arts & Crafts

Below is a list of arts and crafts outlets and projects on this route. Enquiries can be made directly with the business.

Die Trommel
Die Trommel sells a variety of souvenirs and gifts. These include Sutherland-memorabilia, T-shirts, mugs, glasses, post...

Kxo'xo Leather Designs
Kxo'xo Leather Designs offers a range of game skin décor products for sale. These items include cushions, rugs, r...

   Environment

Below is a list of environmental attractions on this route. Booking and enquiries can be made directly with the business.

Beaufort West Museum
Beaufort West Museum is a tourist destination that display and interpret the stories of its own people. The museum compl...

Karoo Plant Nursery and Bossie Trail
The nursery is part of the Endangered Wildlife Trust Ripanan Habitat Rehabilitation Project. This is a non-profit organi...

Hantam National Botanical Garden
Activities and services at Hantam National Botanical Garden: Guided bus tours on a legendary 1950's Bedford bus; A v...

Oorlogskloof Nature Reserve
  Some of the overnight camps have been provided with five tents which accommodate three people each. Each tent ha...

Tankwa National Park
The magnificent Tankwa National Park straddles the border of northern and western Cape provinces with the mountainous bo...

Karoo National Park
Many visitors to the Karoo National Park access the park by car as this allows them the freedom to explore the park at t...

   Food & Drink

Below is a list of restaurants and other food and beverage outlets on this route. Bookings and enquiries can be made directly with the establishment.

Red Canyon Spur
Here you can enjoy a meal from a well-known menu in a warm, relaxed, family environment. Dishes on the menu include seaf...

Emzini-Wakuti Traditional Foods
Emzini-Wakuti Traditional Foods prepares traditional home cooked meals. Their speciality is a variety of mutton and chic...

Die Waenhuis Restaurant
Die Waenhuis Restaurant at Papkuilsfontein welcomes you to enjoy renowned light lunches, decadent cakes and delicious co...

Cluster d' Hote Restaurant
As one of the oldest houses, circa 1880, this Victorian dollhouse was renovated in 2007 by the Marais family to become a...

Skuinskoek Paleis Take-Aways
Skuinskoek Paleis specialises in products that are unique to the area. These include skuinskoek, roosterbrood, buttermil...

Travalia Farmstall
This large farmstall features a restaurant where Karoo fare can be enjoyed. Take home our Karoo Super Lamb, cut and pack...

Die Nedersetting Restaurant
Die Nedersetting Restaurant serves delicious cuisine in a peaceful dining room with fireplace for a cosy dining experien...

Kunskafee
Kunskafee is a coffee shop that offers a variety of arts and crafts for sale. Guests can relax in a calm atmosphere whil...

Lemon Tree Coffee, Gifts and Flower Shop
Products for sale: Karoo lamb chops; Apple tart; Brandy tart; Gifts; Books; Jams; and Biltong (jerky) and dried...

Matjiesfontein Padstal
Facilities and activities: Restaurant serving delicious light meals and beverages; A craft shop with a variety of ar...

Rietdak Braaihuis
At Rietdak Braaihuis you can enjoy "the best steak in town". Here one can order a 500g steak, chips, salad and a sauce a...

Rooidakhuis
The Rooidakhuis offers delicious traditional, homecooked meals (buffet) during the flower season in the evenings. Out of...

Karushi
Karushi is a unique sushi bar, lounge and deli situated in the heart of the Karoo. If you love Sushi and the Karoo, why...

Smidswinkel Restaurant
Smidswinkel Restaurant is situated in a large sandstone building which, many years ago, was occupied by the last blacksm...

Rooi Granaat Coffee Shop
Rooi Granaat is a coffee shop in Loxton that serves Karoo meals, cooldrinks and fresh produce. They also offer a caterin...

Karoo Deli
Karoo Deli is a coffee shop and deli in Victoria West that serves light meals. Visitors can enjoy delicious homemade pro...

Merino Restaurant
Merino Restaurant was once a car showroom, but is now a place where old friends meet and new friends are made. It is a f...

   Services

Below is a list of services on this route. Enquiries can be made directly with the business.

KLK Landbou Bpk
KLK Landbou Bpk stocks a variety of groceries, farming equipment and hardware items. They also sell diesel and unleaded...

Protea Motors
Facilities and services: Filling station for petrol and diesel sales - garage cards are gladly accepted; Motor works...

Nieuwoudtville Publicity Association Information Office
Please direct all accommodation enquiries to the Nieuwoudtville Publicity Association Information Office.

Discover Sutherland
Discover Sutherland is a private initiative aimed at marketing Sutherland as a tourist destination.  They offer fr...

Klaasneus Trading
Klaasneus Trading is a general dealer in Nieuwoudtville that also sells take-aways. Products for sale: Fresh fruit a...

Namakwa Tourism Information
Namakwa Tourism Information provides tourists with friendly, updated information about the town Calvinia, the Namakwa di...

Supa Quick - Beaufort West
Supa Quick specialises in fitting of tyres, car batteries, shocks, exhausts, alignment and balancing of vehicles. They a...

E. de Roubaix & Kie
Items for sale: Milk; Bread; Tea; Sugar; Braaiwood; Coldrinks; Fresh fruit and vegetables; Chicken; Candles;...

ACVV Victoria West (Afrikaanse Christelike Vroue Vereeniging)
The ACVV was founded in 1904.  It is a non-profit, Christian organisation that provides housing to elders and disab...

Tok-In Medicine Corner
Tok-In Medicine Corner is situated in the town of Victoria West. They sell a wide variety of non-scheduled medicines.

Victoria West Veldmerino Club
Victoria West Veldmerino Club is a farming establishment. Please contact them for more information.

Karoo Vleisboere Kooperatief Bpk
Karoo Vleisboere (meat farmers) is a farmers co-operation focusing mainly on sheep farming. The business started in 1932...

Beaufort West Tourism Organisation
This organisation can assist with all tourism related information and enquiries. They also have fax, e-mail and internet...

Exel Fuel Station and Shop
Facilities: Fuel station; Toilets; Toyota garage and workshop; and A café that sells take-aways, airtime, c...

O&D Windpomp & Sweiswerke
This business started in 1987 as there was a need for wind pump repairs in the area. Products for sale and services:...

Victoria Wes Landbougenootskap
This establishment has a show court for horses surrounded by shaded trees. There is a sheepkraal on the premises for Mer...

 

Overview
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The Karoo Highlands Route is situated in the north-eastern part of the Western Cape and southern part of the Northern Cape in South Africa. The route includes the small Karoo towns of Matjiesfontein, Sutherland, Fraserburg, Williston, Carnarvon, Loxton, Victoria West and Beaufort West and is also commonly referred to as the Great Karoo. Sheep farming is the economic backbone of the Karoo and Karoo lamb has become the flagship export of the region. 

The Karoo is known for its extreme climate. Daily temperatures average around 30°C in summer while winters often see snowfall in the high-lying areas such as Sutherland.

 

 

Hantam Vleisfees:

When: 28 - 30 August 2015

Where: Calvinia, Northern Cape

Contact Person(s): Lizette Lambrechts

Tel: +27 27 341 8219 (Office)

Cell: +27 83 355 8155 

E-mail: vleisfees@klk.co.za

Calvinia in the Northern Cape is sheep country, and this festival celebrates meat - braaied, stewed, curried, in pita, on sosaties, in potjies - you can even pick up a done-to-perfection sheep's head! First held in 1989, the two-day Hantam Vleisfees has a music concert, street party, vintage car rally and, a highlight for many, the Miss Vleisfees competition - a glittering affair with dinner and dancing.

Williston Winter Festival:

When: 2 - 5 September, 2015

Where:  Williston, Northern Cape

Contact Person(s): Pieter Naude

Tel: +27 53 391 3659

E-mail: willistonwinterfees@gmail.com

Touted as the most authentic cultural festival in South Africa, a unique event which celebrates the fascinating, unique talents, customs and landscape of the Northern Cape Karoo. Entertainment includes a variety of local and well known talents, and there will be plenty of stalls selling delicious Karoo food. But the highlight of the whole event is the dust-raising Nama Riel dance, performed by over 100 'rieldancers' (https://tkp.tourism.gov.za).

*Information correct at the time of publication - prospective event participants are advised to contact the organisers for any possible updates.

 

 

Natural history:

The Great Karoo covers an area of more than 400,000km² and was formed by an inland basin approximately 250-million years. At one stage the area was glaciated and the evidence for this is found in the widely-distributed Dwyka tillite. Later, at various times, there were great inland deltas, seas, lakes or swamps. During this time enormous deposits of coal formed and that still contributes significantly to the economy of South Africa today. Even though volcanic activity took place on a titanic scale, ancient reptiles and amphibians prospered in the wet forests and their remains have made the Karoo famous amongst palaeontologists.

Early history:

People have lived on this harsh plateau, the largest of its kind outside Asia, for about 500 000 years.  The Khoi and San people who left their legacy as art on the rocks gave the Karoo its name. The place’s name comes from Karusa, a Khoi word which means dry, barren, thirst land. This aptly describes the region where water is still scarce today.  

Journeys across this strange storehouse of nature can be long and tiring. It is an ancient, fossil rich land with the largest variety of succulents found anywhere on earth There are over 9000 plant species in the Great Karoo and one district alone is home to more species than the whole of Great Britain.

Some of the world’s most important archaeological sites are located in the Central Karoo, particularly in the Beaufort West and Nelspoort areas where fascinating stone-age sites and Bushmen engravings are to be found.

Colonial history:

Europeans first settled in the Cape in 1652 but made almost no inroads into the Karoo prior to about 1800. Before that time, large herds of antelope, zebra and other large game roamed the grassy flats of the region. The Khoi and Bushmen, last of the southern African Stone Age peoples, wandered far and wide. There were no Europeans and no Africans of Bantu extraction (The area was never wet enough for cattle and this is probably the main reason why it was never occupied by the Bantu). The two ethnic groups mentioned above differed substantially in their cultures and lifestyles; the Hottentots were described as grazers of sheep and cattle, while the Bushmen were hunter-gatherers (These were the original names given to these tribes by the Dutch. The terms may not be regarded as politically correct today). With the occupation of the region by European settlers, sheep gradually replaced the game and the cover of grass degenerated, owing to changes in the pattern of grazing and in the climate.

During the Second Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902, three Republican commando units, reinforced by the rebels from the Cape Colony, conducted widespread operations throughout the Karoo. Countless skirmishes took place in the region, with the Calvinia magisterial district, in particular, contributing a significant number of fighters to the Republican cause. Fought both conventionally and as a guerrilla struggle over the Karoo's vast expanses, it was a bloody war of attrition wherein both sides used newly developed technologies to their advantage. Numerous abandoned blockhouses can still be seen at strategic locations throughout the Great Karoo; a prime example is located next to the Geelbeks River, 12 km outside the town of Laingsburg.

Carnarvon:

In 1839 the British governor of the Cape, Sir George Napier, offered the Xhosa community of Schietfontein 98,000 morgen of land (approximately 19,600 hectares) surrounding Schietfontein, in exchange for their role in acting as a protective buffer between the San and the settlers. This included a majority of the farming land in the area today. The gradual disowning of land by the Xhosa people is one of the tragedies of the colonial and apartheid past, resulting in an almost exclusive white ownership of the farms in the Carnarvon district today. In the year 1847 a Rhenish mission station was established in Schietfontein. The first missionary was the reverend C.W. Alheit.

Fraserberg:

During this time, the only means of transportation and thus communication were horses and horse drawn carriages. Post was brought irregularly by stage coach from Beaufort West. Most farmers visited the town as few as four times a year and then only for the Nachtmaal (Communion). Distances were gauged by the distance a horse could ride in one hour (about 6 miles or 10km).

Early in the twentieth century Fraserburg received its first telegraph connection and you can still see the remains of this line between Fraserburg and Carnarvon today.  A Post Office opened in 1858 which led in an era of development in the town. A Magistrates Office opened in 1859, a police staion in 1860, a doctor moved to town in the same year and the prison opened in 1861 and closed down more than a century later in 1968. Fraserburg was finally proclaimed as a municipality on 6 June, 1862. The first electric power was supplied on 16 September, 1958 and the town switched to ESCOM power in 1983.

The legendary writer/poet A.G. Visser lived in the Fraserburg district. He was born in a tent under a pear tree, on the farm Zaaifontein.

Nieuwoudtville:

The Khoi San inhabited this area for many centuries before the first settlers arrived around 1730.  The local rock art in Oorlogskloof Nature Reserve and on farms around Nieuwoudtville bears witness to an ancient culture that flourished here.  The early settlers established themselves close to the present town Nieuwoudtville at Groenrivier and Willemsrivier, where the first formal church building can still be seen.

When the town of Nieuwoudtville was founded in 1897, on land that was purchased from H.C. Nieuwoudt, after whom the town is named, the fine old buildings were fashioned from sandstone.  Many of these homes still exist today.

The Boer War broke out in 1899 and there is evidence of skirmishes throughout the region.  Local residents have colourful stories to tell of the war, passed down from their forefathers. In more recent times Nieuwoudtville has become a 'Mecca' for botanists and flower lovers from around the world.  Our visitor's books boast an impressive number of pilgrims from far and wide.

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Open Africa Routes

A route is a cluster of travel attractions, accommodation, tour operators, local artisans, guides and restaurants. It brings people together from all levels of community to promote travel to their area. You select what interests you on a route and create your own itinerary.

Subroutes

Beaufort West - The heart...
Calvinia - Hantam Route
Carnarvon - Kreeberg Rout...
Fraserburg
Loeriesfontein
Loxton
Nieuwoudtville
Sutherland - The Forgotte...
Victoria West
Williston - Zak Rivier Ro...

South Africa - Northern Cape

South Africa - Northern Cape

The Karoo Highland Tourism Route is situated in the north-eastern part of the Western Cape and southern part of the Northern Cape in South Africa. The route covers small Karoo towns such as Matjiesfontein, Sutherland, Fraserburg, Williston, Carnarvon, Loxton, Victoria West and Beaufort West and is commonly referred to as the Great Karoo.

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desert carnarvon 4x4 fraserburg food nieuwoudtville heritage escape northern-cape

 

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