When people think of the Great Karoo, vast expanses of dry sands and dunes, stretching as far as the eye can see and blue open skies not showing a single cloud, immediately spring to mind. This could also be a description of the Little Karoo, except by comparison, it is a much smaller region than the Great Karoo. Karoo is the Khoi word for “dry”, an obvious choice of name for these two desert-like regions.
The Little Karoo, though sparsely vegetated, also displays that remarkable power of attraction that we associate with desert landscapes – far horizons, magnificent sunsets and wide-open skies. The region is ensconced between the majestic Outeniqua, Langeberg and Swartberg Mountain Ranges. Although water is scarce, farmers utilise the sunny climate and fertile river valleys to grow high-quality produce, such as vegetables and fruit. Wine and dairy products are also produced here and there are several ostrich farms in the region.
The slightly higher rainfall in the less arid part of the Little Karoo creates magnificent scenery that includes natural patches of indigenous fynbos, particularly proteas.
The region also features one of the country’s most amazing natural wonders. The Cango Caves are a series of beautiful and brilliant limestone caves tunneling beneath the foothills of the Swartberg Range.
One visit to the Little Karoo will immediately reveal the warmth and open-hearted hospitality of the people of the region. One of the best-known annual events in South Africa is the Klein Karoo Kunstefees (Little Karoo Arts Festival) where many of South Africa’s talented craftsmen, artists and musicians display their talents. This would be the ideal opportunity to visit the region and experience a true rural welcome.