Upper Karoo

The Upper Karoo is famous for its wide open spaces and healthy climate. The seemingly arid soil of the Karoo bursts into life after rains totally transforming the landscape

Northern Cape Tourist AttractionsThe Upper Karoo

The Upper Karoo is famous for its wide open spaces and healthy climate. The seemingly arid soil of the Karoo bursts into life after rains, which totally transform the landscape.

Where? Upper Karoo, Northern Cape, South Africa

Overnight? See Upper Karoo accommodation, in Northern Cape

In the Upper Karoo region hardy succulents are complemented by grasses on which the region’s cattle graze. Seemingly countless windpumps are indicative of the countless streams that flow between cracks and fissures that lie beneath the dry but fertile soil.

Small towns with distinct Karoo architecture and their imposing churches lie in the valleys between lone flat-topped koppies. Visit Colesberg, (a perfectly situated stopover for travellers from Gauteng and KwaZulu Natal to the Cape) a sheep-farming centre, then travel on to Hopetown where South Africa’s first recorded diamond was found.

Return via Orania which is a self-proclaimed Afrikaner 'volkstaat', and take some time to visit the Rolfontein Reserve on the shores of the Vanderkloof Dam.

Popular Towns in the Upper Karoo Region


Overnight? Accommodation in Brandvlei
Brandvlei lies in a space most people in South Africa would agree is the back of beyond, north west of Loeriesfontein on Route 357. That's halfway between Calvinia and Kenhardt in the heart of what today is known as the Thirst Land, or...

More information and photographs: Brandvlei Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Britstown
Britstown lies on the N12, roughly 100 km north of Victoria West, and equidistant from De Aar and Vosburg that lie on either side of it. It is named after a man called Hans Brits. The name, on the face of it, is both obvious and mundane...

More information and photographs: Britstown Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Douglas
This attractive Karoo town lies in one of the largest wool-producing districts in South Africa, about half-way between Cape Town and Upington. The Calvinia Museum, housed in an old Art Deco synagogue in Church Street, focuses on farming...

More information and photographs: Douglas Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Carnarvon
One of numerous little towns in the heart of the vast inland basin known as the Karoo, Carnarvon lies surrounded by the rather famous flat topped koppies of the Karee Mountains, west of Williston and directly north of Loxton. These hills...

More information and photographs: Carnarvon Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Colesberg
This quiet upper Karoo town which serves a thriving horse and sheep stud district, has retained a few interesting reminders of the past. When visiting Colesberg, make a point of visiting the old horse-driven mill pub, the quaint Cape Karoo...

More information and photographs: Colesberg Information

De Aar

Overnight? Accommodation in De Aar
De Aar is the second most important railway junction in South Africa. In De Aar, the lines from the Eastern and Western Cape, the northern provinces, Zimbabwe and Namibia meet. The town has 110 km of track and a high traffic rate of trains...

More information and photographs: De Aar Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Fraserburg
Fraserburg is also rather beautiful and unspoilt - the night skies are clear and filled with stars so far away from the lights of a city (small surprise then that neighbour Sutherland is the site of the largest single optical telescope...

More information and photographs: Fraserburg Information

Gariep Dam

Overnight? Accommodation in Gariep Dam
Apart from serving an important function - supplying water to parts of the Vaal, Fish and Sundays catchments and irrigation along the Orange River itself - the Gariep Dam also lies in one of the most beautiful gorges at the entrance...

More information and photographs: Gariep Dam Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Hanover
The little Karoo town of Hanover is often described as the town in the middle of South Africa. It lies halfway between Johannesburg and Cape Town; between Cape Town and Durban, and between Upington and Port Elizabeth. Before the...

More information and photographs: Hanover Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Hopetown
The pretty, very little town of Douglas lies almost halfway between Kimberley and the town of Prieska, which, unless you happen to have met someone who hails from there, you might not know at all (Prieska, that is. Douglas you probably definitely...

More information and photographs: Hopetown Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Loeriesfontein
Loeriesfontein may be a small town in the sparsely populated South African province of the Northern Cape, but it has plenty in the way of natural beauty and tourist attractions to offer its visitors. This little town is situated in the...

More information and photographs: Loeriesfontein Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Loxton
Loxton is one of those unexpected settlements, thanks to far-seeing townsfolk who planted trees along all its streets over one hundred years ago. This shade-rich environment, along with a variety of lovely old Karoo architecture, and...

More information and photographs: Loxton Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Marydale
To the average person Marydale seems in the middle of nowhere. It lies far north west – only the town of Kenhardt stands between it and the Augrabies Falls National Park on the border with Namibia. Marydale's NG Church, the reason for...

More information and photographs: Marydale Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Merweville
Set in the heart of possibly the driest part of the country, Merweville is all but dominated by its NG kerk, its imposing presence (the beams of the ceiling came from a shipwreck and the organ was built in Aberdeen, Scotland) all...

More information and photographs: Merweville Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Middelpos
Middelpos is just 30 km from the Gannaga Pass, the quickest route to the Tankwa Karoo National Park over the Roggeveld plateau, with incredible views out over the Tankwa Valley, the Cederberg Mountains in the distance. During the...

More information and photographs: Middelpos Information


Overnight? Accommodation Nieuwoudtville
Nieuwoudtville is extremely popular during the wild flower season, and indeed, because of its unique placement in the Karoo plain known as the Bokkeveld, where the Hantam Karoo meets Cape Fynbos, it has a reputation as the bulb...

More information and photographs: Nieuwoudtville Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Norvalspont
Norvalspont, as the word 'pont' in its name suggests (a pont is a ferry boat or punt), lies on the southern banks of the Orange River minutes from the Gariep Dam. It is also really close to the border of the Northern Cape with the...

More information and photographs: Norvalspont Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Orania
South Africa's last apartheid outpost, Orania is the only town in the country that is for whites only. Despite sounding, in the new democratic South Africa, like the stuff of myth and legend, Orania is very much a reality. It lies on the...

More information and photographs: Orania Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Prieska
243 km south-east of Upington, the town of Prieska lies right on the Orange River in the midst of dry country in the sense that it seldom rains and summer days soar upwards in the region of 40 degrees Celsius. The unusual name is a derivative...

More information and photographs: Prieska Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Richmond
The little town of Richmond lies nestled next to the N1 between the other typical Northern Cape villages of Hanover and Victoria West. Its residents refer to it not as a destination, but as a way of life, and there is something about...

More information and photographs: Richmond Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Strydenburg
Strydenburg is a largely Afrikaans town that is situated in the largest, but most sparsely populated province of South Africa, the Northern Cape. This province has a beauty all its own. This town is part of the Thembelihle Municipality...

More information and photographs: Strydenburg Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Sutherland
Mention the town of Sutherland and most people will know that this is the place people go to look at the skies. And they would be right. Almost 120 kilometres due north of Matjiesfontein in the Roggeveld of the Karoo, Sutherland is a...

More information and photographs: Sutherland Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Douglas
The pretty, very little town of Douglas lies almost halfway between Kimberley and the town of Prieska, which, unless you happen to have met someone who hails from there, you might not know at all (Prieska, that is. Douglas you probably definitely...

More information and photographs: Douglas Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Vanderkloof
Set on the far northern shore of the Vanderkloof Dam lies the little community of Vanderkloof, forming the eastern corner of a triangle with Hopetown (north) and Philipstown (south). The hamlet is small, but the Rolfontein Nature...

More information and photographs: Vanderkloof Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Vanwyksvlei
The only thing remotely marshy or wet about the tiny town of Vanwyksvlei, which means Van Wyk's marsh, is its position close to the dam that goes by the same name, built way back in 1882. The inadequacy of its name becomes all the more...

More information and photographs: Vanwyksvlei Information

Victoria West

Overnight? Accommodation in Victoria West
The pretty, very little town of Douglas lies almost halfway between Kimberley and the town of Prieska, which, unless you happen to have met someone who hails from there, you might not know at all (Prieska, that is. Douglas you probably definitely...

More information and photographs: Victoria West Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Vosburg
Haven't heard of Vosberg? No, nor had we. And if it weren't for the recently tarred R384 that links Carnarvon and Britstown to Vosburg (the peaceful village is also linked by gravel to Prieska and Victoria West) it probably would not have...

More information and photographs: Vosburg Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Williston
Williston may be a small town tucked away in the Upper Karoo of the Northern Cape, but this part of the Namaqualand certainly enjoys its fair share of natural splendour and unadulterated South African landscapes. The Karoo is a very special...

More information and photographs: Williston Information

Did you know?

Nieuwoudtville‘s fame during flower season is well publicised. But even when not in bloom its quaintness, the Hantam National Botanical Gardens and the community run Bulb Nursery (follow signs from town) make a visit here essential. When the wild flowers are not in bloom Loeriesfontein, just up the drag from Nieuwoudtville, is also worth a drive purely to see the Windmill Museum.

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