Karoo tours & holiday packagesThe quietest place in South Africa
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Miles upon miles of sweet nothing, quiet days, small towns with friendly locals and the best stargazing in the country.
The Karoo comprises some two-thirds of South Africa's heartland. It's a semi-arid region, dotted with succulents and low bushy scrub and the wide flat plains are sometimes broken by craggy mountain ranges. The area has been compared to the Australian Outback and Arizona in the United States and it's a wonderful region for desert tourism.
The region is divided into two sections: the magical Great Karoo to the north, a huge expanse of arid semi-desert, and to its south the more-vegetated Little Karoo, which is more accessible and easier to explore. Small, characterful towns connect the vast open flatlands and there are many options for authentic farm stays in beautiful stone cottages on working farms.
It's fun to just pick a town at random and drive out for a weekend of peace, quiet and stargazing. I love all the farm houses out here where you get freshly baked farm bread and watch the sheep being milked.
More on Karoo holidays
In the Little Karoo, Oudtshoorn is the anchor town and it is here that the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival, a popular annual event celebrating all genre of performing arts, is held. Other towns in the region are Calitzdorp, where travellers can taste the wines of the region, and Ladismith at the foot of the spectacular Klein Swartberg mountain range.
The Great Karoo holds an immense amount of beauty. It's about 400 000 square kilometres in area and is so undeveloped that at night the stars feel within reach. It may be the quietest place in South Africa. Towns to visit are the quaint Aberdeen and Nieu Bethesda. An overnight stay in the Victoria Manor Hotel in Cradock will spoil travellers with old-world charm and a traditional dinner while the Theatrical Hotel outside the mohair town of Steytlerville is a more remote option. In Sutherland, travellers will find the Southern African Large Telescope and it's the place to be for stargazing. In spring, Calvinia is a must-visit as the daisies provide a natural show.
Karoo's location on Google Maps