ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Visiting the Klein Karoo in South Africa

Updated on March 11, 2019
Johan Smulders profile image

Johan has travelled extensively in the USA and Southern Africa. He is a retired school teacher and evangelist.

Cango Caves near Oudtshoorn
Cango Caves near Oudtshoorn
View from our camp site Calitzdorp Spa
View from our camp site Calitzdorp Spa
Ostrich Country
Ostrich Country
The Langkloof with a view to remember
The Langkloof with a view to remember
Another Protea
Another Protea
Some of the fruit we brought back
Some of the fruit we brought back
The outdoor pool, Calitzdorp Spa
The outdoor pool, Calitzdorp Spa
Indoor hot pool
Indoor hot pool

Visiting the Klein Karoo in South Africa

Situated in the Southern tip of Africa South Africa as a country has 9 natural habitats varying from the desert in the N/W to small sections of Mangrove in the tropical eastern sections. The Little Karoo exists in the Western Cape between the Outiniqua Mountains that hug the southern coast and the Swartberg in the interior to the north. It is just a narrow belt of land that falls in the rain shadow caused by the coastal mountains to the south that prevents moist ocean air from reaching it.

At the same time rivers like the Gouritz and the Great Brak, among others, bring water from the mountains and provide irrigation possibilities to the rich Langkloof area between the mountains. Here much of South Africa’s deciduous fruit is produced. Traditionally this area has also been the area that is ideal for the breeding of Ostriches and so the town of Oudshoorn is central to that industry. In times past these big birds brought great riches to the country before synthetic material replaced Ostrich feathers for decorative purposes. Today you can buy Ostrich biltong (jerky) and Ostrich steaks.

There are three main vegetation types in the area; fynbos and karoo semi desert with occasional mixed grassland and spekboom bush. Rainfall is low but the soil is rich and so huge areas of cultivated orchards are found here, mainly apples, pears, plumbs, grapes and nectarines.

While this area is not on the main tourist routes in South Africa it has a beauty of its own and deserves a visit by both international and local tourists. The Cango Caves just north of Oudtshoorn are a wonder that need to be visited. The Ostrich farms have become an interesting place to visit and put on a good show for tourists including rides and races. The Calitzdorp Spa is a gem in the mountains near the town of that name, providing hot springs that claim to be healing for all kinds of aches and pains.

Artists have made the towns in this area a mecca for their variety of art that is produced here. The towns also have a choice of antique shops that present a large selection of Africana in their crowded rooms. Here you can find anything from old artifacts from the past to more modern arts and crafts. Certainly there is something for anyone. One of the highlights of a visit to this area in the fruit that is available in the particular season that it is visited in. “Padstalle” (Road stalls) offer a great selection of homemade spices and canned fruit, and also a large selection on dry fruit.

For the wine lover there are an abundance of vineyards and wineries available, each one offering wine tasting and sales. The area around Calitzdorp and Ladismith lay claim to being the Port Capital of the world. The grapes here are perfect for the production of sweet wines. We picked grapes at the Krans Vineyard during their open days before they harvested their crop. A really amazing experience.

For the keen birder the endemic birds of the area are certain to add to your life list. Along the road you will also be able to see many of the South African antelope and certainly many an Ostrich. The 4x4 enthusiast can make a detour in the nearby well known wilderness area called the Baviaanspoort. Here cyclists and hikers can find a variety of trails to challenge them and adventure seekers have a choice of mountaineering and canoeing. One of the attractions of this area is that it is not crowded like the more popular areas like Cape Town, Kruger National Park and Durban.

Accommodation is available in every town in the form of bed and breakfast establishments and self catering chalets and rooms. For the visitor who is on a tight budget camping and back-packer opportunities are to be found. Every town has many restaurants that offer a variety of local menus, guaranteed to delight every taste.

Lying in the hot or cold swimming pool at the Calitzdorp Spa after the sun has gone down visitors will be amazed to see the stars in a way that they have probably never seen them before. In the evening sitting outside your tent the visiting Springbok and an occasional Mountain Tortoises will graze close by. During the day the blue skies and beautiful landscapes will amaze for kilometer after kilometer. Stopping at a lookout point or a rest stop the beautiful fynbos with its choice of flowering proteas will find the visitor looking for their camera. This part of South Africa has in the past two years become a must visit area on our calendar.

Resources: Curruthers, V. The Wildlife of Southern Africa.

Stuart, C. and M. National Parks and Nature Reserves – a South African Field Guide.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Johan Smulders profile imageAUTHOR

      Johan Smulders 

      2 years ago from East London, South Africa

      It is a great country to visit and there are so many lesser known areas that amaze. The Klein Karoo being one of them. The wild flowers in September on the West Coast another apart from the great Game Reserves like Kruger, Addo and Kgalagadi and then Cape Town. Thanks for your kind comments.

    • Guckenberger profile image

      Alexander James Guckenberger 

      2 years ago from Maryland, United States of America

      I would love to visit Africa. We all have roots there.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      2 years ago from UK

      Amazing photos in this interesting article.I had not heard of Klein Karoo before reading your article.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)