South Africa’s desert flower

The Karoo’s arid semi-desert landscape calls to mind images of the iconic wind pump and vast terrain dotted with ostriches, sheep and angora goats. With the sparse landscape punctuated only by small towns and farmland, the silence is palpable; hanging stagnant in the air above rolling mountains, and seemingly deserted plains that ultimately merge with the distant horizon. At night and in the absence of city lights, the cloudless sky is ignited by stars, while the translucent glow of the Milky Way forms its distinctive ribbon alongside Orion’s Belt.

The Karoo National Park encompasses 76,000 hectares of diverse wildlife and vegetation and forms part of South Africa’s iconic Route 62. The region is well-known as a hotspot for ancient Khoi-San rock art and as a popular self-drive destination - your only accompaniment being the open road. The area is scattered with towns whose buildings echo classic Cape Dutch, elegant Georgian and flamboyant Victorian architecture.

View the boundless plains of the Karoo from the Valley of Desolation, flanked by 120m high precariously perched, dolerite columns. From this height, the town of Graaff-Reinet lies sprawled about a horseshoe bend on the banks of the Sundays River. Enjoy picturesque hiking and mountain-biking trails to the site where the first reptile fossils were found before taking out your binoculars in the hopes of catching a glimpse of Verreaux’s eagle or any number of game found in this region.

Highlights

  • The Karoo National Park is comprised of 76,000 hectares of semi-desert landscape; home to an abundance of game, reptiles and unique vegetation
  • View the vast plains of the Karoo from the Valley of Desolation renowned for its unusual 120m high dolerite columns
  • Follow the path leading to the discovery of the first reptile fossils or embark on exciting hikes and mountain-biking trails
  • An excellent self-drive destination and one of the best places in the country to stargaze 
  • Small towns offering quaint accommodation and oozing in local charm and hospitality

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