Klein Karoo

The Klein Karoo is the semi desert landscape of South Africa.

It’s the large semi arid region inland of the Garden Route that includes the Outeniqua Mountains and the Swartberg Mountain World Heritage Site.

This is ostrich country – where the great feather barons made their millions in the early 20th Century – and it’s also a wonderful grape growing area, too. Here you’ll find the Cango Caves – Africa’s largest show cage system – as well as excellent game watching and bid watching, wonderful mountain biking, and some of the country’s most scenic mountain passes.

The Klein Karoo includes the towns and villages of Calitzdorp, de Rust, the famous town Price Albert and Oudtshoorn.

Route 62 is a tourist route in South Africa that meanders between Cape Town, Oudtshoorn, the Garden Route, and Port Elizabeth, offering the scenic alternative to the N2 highway, taking you through the klein karoo. 

We’ve listed just a few of our favourite attractions below. Please contact us to make your bookings – or to discuss an itinerary designed especially for you.

Calitzdorp

Calitzdorp is a town on the Western side of the Little or Klein Karoo in the Western Cape Province of South Africa and lies on South Africa's Route 62.

Reffered to the ‘Port wine capital of South Africa’ is also the fruit basket of the Klein Karoo. Local wine cellars include:

  • Boplaas Wine Cellar - world-class table wines, ports, pot-stilled brandies.
  • De Krans Wine Cellar - whites, reds, fortified wines, port
  • Calitzdorp Wine Cellar - whites, reds, fortified wines, port
  • Withoek Cellar - red wines, fortified wines, port
  • Axe Hill - port
  • Peter Bayly Wines - port
  • TTT Cellars - reds, rosés, ports, dessert wines
  • du'swaroo - shiraz, Ports

Other attractions:

  • Yearly Port festival during June where there are a plenty of port wine and food options.
  • Angling, birding, canoeing, star-gazing.
  • The Donkey Trail – a ¾ day guided hike across the Swartberg Mountains, also one of the top 10 hiking trails in the Western Cape.
  • One of the natural wonders of this region is the Red Stone hills and it can be found on the way to Oudtshoorn, approximately 19km outside of Calitzdorp. The history of these bright red hills dates back more or less 125 million years ago when the sea left its deposit against the mountains, thereby forming the Enon Trail as it is known today. These deposits, superbly revealed in the basin of the little karoo, are beautiful examples of nature using water to secure a subtly coloured and most decorative ornament to an already lovely landscape of mountains and plain. This type of formation can only be found at 3 places in the world, namely South America , one of the South sea islands, and here in the little karoo.

de Rust

De Rust is located at the foot of the Swartberg Mountain range between Oudtshoorn and Beaufort West.

De Rust is also known for the meandering Meiringspoort pass. Meiringspoort is a gateway that connects the Klein Karoo.

a Few things to do while in de Rust:

  • de Rust is a magnet for artists and crafters: find and buy their work at the Village Art Gallery (behind the Village Trading Post)
  • Get around town with the a Donkey Taxi (although you do need to book with a day in advance...)
  • Enjoy outstanding mountain biking (MTB), hiking, and running (the annual Meiringspoort Half Marathon has become something of a cult event)
  • Wine tasting at Domein Doornkraal – where Swepie le Roux is the winemaker. (Sparkling wine: Tickled Pink. White wine: Chardonnay / Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Kuierwyn. Red wine: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Kanna Rooi. Fortified wine: Goue Jerepigo and Red Jerepigo. Sherry Port: Pinta, Kaptein, and Cape Tawny.)
  • Wine tasting at Mons Ruber Winery. (Sweet wines and brandy: there’s also an easy 90-minute hiking trail on the estate.)
  • Shop for antiques, bric-a-brac, and traditional delicacies, and enjoy Karoo hospitality at Ant Dora’s Spens, de Rusbank, and Tolbos Trading

 

 

Oudtshoorn

Oudtshoorn is a town in the Klein Karoo area of South Africa’s Western Cape. It’s known for its ostrich farms and rests along the Route 62 wine route. The central C.P. Nel Museum traces the ostrich-feather boom era and houses a working synagogue. The nearby Cango Wildlife Ranch is a conservation park offering animal petting. To the north, the Cango Caves are a 20-million-year-old network of limestone chambers.

  • Cango Caves: the biggest show caves in Africa
  • Ostrich farms (Safari, Highgate, & Chandelier – working farms where visitors are welcome)
  • Buffelsdrift Game Lodge – game watching, horse rides, elephant experiences
  • Karusa Vineyards - wine tasting (Mediterranean-style white and red wines,  and Cap Classique sparkling wines made in the traditional French Methode) and micro brewery
  • Birding
  • Horse riding, hiking, and mountain bike (MTB) trails
  • Ballooning
  • The Swartberg Nature Reserve – a World Heritage Site (Swartberg Mountains, Swartberg Pass, Gamkaskloof / Die Hel, and Meiringspoort)
  • KKNK (Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees) annual festival of the arts
  • The CP Nel Museum – for its astonishing collection of musical instruments (amongst other things).

 

 

Cape Route 62

Cape Route 62
The Klein Karoo stretches along the the Cape Route 62 from Barrydale in the west to De Rust in the east. Route 62 meanders between Cape Town and Oudtshoorn, the Garden Route and Port Elizabeth, offering the shorter, scenic alternative to the N2 highway.

Did you know?
Most striking about Route 62 is the unbeatable scenery. This unique part of South Africa is characterised by red soil, stark cliff faces, rivers, orchards, and indigenous scrub. Fynbos, including the beautiful Protea, swirl gently as cars rush by on the highway, generously letting every passer-by experience their splendour.