Karoo

The Karoo is within the Northern Cape of South Africa

The grassy plains of the Karoo.

Cities

Other destinations

Understand

The Karoo - “Place of Thirst” - is a boundless and mysterious area covered by vast sheep and game farms, where broad plains roll away toward distant koppies and multilayered mountains that seem to touch the indigo sky. One can stop almost anywhere in the Karoo and listen to the silence, breathe in the aged earth and the Karoo Bossies (which conjures up the taste of Karoo lamb!), and gaze at a startlingly clear horizon that seems drawn at the other end of the earth. The Karoo’s clear night sky is densely studded with countless stars and huge, bright planets; even other galaxies are visible with the naked eye, offering some of the best star- gazing in the world. Fossils of some of the earliest forms of one-celled life have been discovered in the Karoo, indicating that life has existed in this region for more than three billion years. The richness of predinosaur fossils in this region is world-renowned. To experience the magic of this area, you must venture off the N1 national road where you will discover eccentric little hamlets, sprawling farmsteads and historical towns populated by warm and welcoming people that love to share their stories and legends.

Tourism information offices

Get in

By plane

There are two airports located in close proximity to the Karoo. The closest is the Port Elizabeth airport which is 162km from the Karoo. The East London airport is 256km away. There are regular flights from Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and other South African destinations to the airports in Port Elizabeth and East London.

By car

The Karoo is easily accessible by motorways from Cape Town (717km), Durban (815km), and Bloemfontein (453km). You could also drive in from Johannesburg (1014km) or Port Elizabeth (250km). The road conditions are fairly good if you are coming from any of these cities.

By bus

All major South African coach companies offer regular schedules to and from destinations like Addo.

See

Do

The Karoo is an outstanding choice for outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, swimming in natural pools, horseback riding, 4x4, quad-biking and fossils trails or walks For the nature lovers there are 235 bird species to identify and a wealth of plant life to discover. Other adventures include fly-fishing, golf, malaria free safari and hunting operations. Annual events include the Castle Lager Biltong Festival, the Spring Rose & Flower show, and the Bruintjieshoogte Cycle Tour & Bruintjieshoogte - ADD Marathon race between Pearston & Somerset East.

Game Viewing

The Camdeboo National Park consists of 24 kilometers of gravel road that offer tourists a chance to sight Buffalo, Red Hartebeest, Eland, Gemsbok, Springbok, Blesbok, Ostrich and Black Wildebeest. The park supports a diverse spectrum of wildlife including 43 mammal species, of which 13 are carnivores. Also located in the Karoo area is the Kamala Game Reserve, a Big 5 reserve that is situated at the confluence of the 6000 foot high Bruinjieshoogte and Boschberg mountain ranges.

Trails

Other

Ganora Guest Farm,  +27 49 841-1302. Located only 7km from Nieu-Bethesda, Ganora is a working sheep farm that offers excursions to rock art, Anglo boer war engravings, a fossil museum and a fossil walk. Picnic baskets are available on request.

Camdeboo National Park,  +27 49 892-3453. This park is most famous for the awe-inspiring Valley of Desolation, as well as the peak called Uitkyk from which paragliding enthusiasts from all over the world come to share the thermals of the vast Karoo skies with the resident Verreaux Eagles. Kudu and Cape Mountain Zebra are among the list of animals that can be seen in the Camdeboo National Park. It is an absolute Mecca for hikers, photographers and those interested in flora and fauna.

Fly- Fishing,  +27 42 243-3440. Fly fishing in the Karoo is very much out of the ordinary as one does not expect the variety or quality of fishing in what is perceived as an arid area. Indigenous Yellowfish are abundant in the river systems and trout fishing is wild. There are dams that are open to the public, but many more if accompanied by a guideAngler & Antelope Fly-fishing.

Hunting. In the Karoo, game is plentiful, making it the perfect destination for hunting enthusiasts or for a camera safari. Prime hunting is offered on the rugged Karoo terrain with Blesbuck, Duiker, Gemsbok, Kudu, Mountain Reedbuck, Springbuck, Steenbok and Wildebeest.

Golf. The highly-rated 9-hole (18 tee) golf course in Somerset East is said to be one of the most beautiful in the country. There’s also the Graaff-Reinet Golf Club, with magnificent views of Spandau`s Kop.

Water Sports. Although the level of the Nqweba dam fluctuates widely as a result of unreliable rainfall, the dam is periodically used for a variety of water sports such as power boating, skiing, yachting, canoeing and windsurfing.

Drink

Drink a lot of water during the hot summer month from November to March. Make sure you have enough water on board when travelling around.

Sleep

Karoo Moons Guest House (Aberdeen),  +27 49 846-0821, fax: +27 49 846-0941, e-mail: . This urban guest house offers accommodation in both the main guest house and various historical cottages. All the luxuary suites have extra length king sized beds, and the guest house features rooms with en suite rooms opening onto Victorian verandas.

Golden Valley Country Inn (Cookhouse),  +27 42 247-1155, fax: +27 42 247-1494, e-mail: . This inn is situated between the Addo Elephant National Park and the Mountain Zebra National Park in the Karoo Heartland. They offer 13 rooms, 6 of which have en suites. Two of the en suite rooms are family rooms.

Koffylaagte Game Lodge (Jansenville),  +27 49 836-9188, fax: +27 49 836-9188, e-mail: . This Lodge has something for everyone. Altogther the lodge has 14 bedrooms, spread between three luxuary safari tents, 3 luxuary rooms at the hunting lodge, a self catering bush camp with 2 permanent tents, as well as the farm house which has two 2-bedroomed self-catering bedrooms with two single beds.

The Stone Cottage (Pearston),  +27 49 891-0416. This cosy cottage sleeps 5 people and is ideal for families or couples. The main room has a double bed and the family room has a double bunk and a single bed. There is also a kitchenette and braai area. The cottage is equipped fro self catering, however meals can be arranged.

Angler and Antelope Guesthouse (Somerset East),  +27 42 243-3440, fax: +27 86 671-6146, e-mail: . They offer both self catering and guest house accommodation. The guest house consists of 7 rooms and is a four-star graded accommodation establishment. The self catering accommodation is a three bedroomed house which can accommodate up to 6 guests.

Connect

For contact details for food and groceries, vehicles, home services, liquor, medical practitioners, nurseries & garden services, pharmacy, professional, cleaning, legal services, photography, security, timber decks, housing, health and beauty call the local or international telephone directory.

Local telephone directory: 1023

International telephone directory: 10903

Ambulance: Tel: 10177 or +27 49 891-0356

Police: Tel: 10111

Fire Station: Tel: +27 49 892-2121 or +27 82 853-7036

Please note that Nieu Bethesda does not having filling stations and shops and restaurants accept cash only.

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This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, March 23, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.