The Great Karoo has an area of more than 400,000 square kilometers.

From a geological point of view it has been a vast inland basin for most of the past 250 million years. At one stage the area was glaciated and the evidence for this is found in the widely-distributed Dwyka tillite. Later, at various times, there were great inland deltas, seas, lakes or swamps. Enormous deposits of coal formed and these are one of the pillars of the economy of South Africa today.

Fossils of some of the earliest forms of one-celled life have been discovered in the Karoo, indicating that life has existed in this region for more than three billion years. The richness of pre-dinosaur fossils in this region is world-renowned.

About 180 million years ago, volcanic activity took place on a titanic scale, which brought an end to a flourishing reptile evolution.

The Karoo – “Place of Thirst” – is a boundless and mysterious area covered by vast sheep and game farms, where broad plains roll away toward distant koppies (hills) and multilayered mountains that seem to touch the indigo sky.

One can stop almost anywhere in the Karoo and listen to the silence while breathing in the aged earth and the Karoo Bossies (which conjures up the taste of Karoo lamb!), and gaze at a startlingly clear horizon that seems drawn at the other end of the earth.

The Karoo’s clear night sky is densely studded with countless stars and huge, bright planets; even other galaxies are visible with the naked eye, offering some of the best star- gazing in the world.

It is as though every town in the Karoo is a box containing decades of history just waiting to be discovered. The Karoo is made up of the towns of Aberdeen, Cookhouse, Graaff-Reinet, Jansenville, Middleburg, Nieu-Bethesda, Pearston and Somerset-East.

Each of these towns are filled with historical gems and cultural wonders for you to explore, giving you insight into the long standing history of the area. The Karoo will ignite your curiosity while your senses will be treated to the wondrous sights and sounds of Africa. Embrace the stillness of the area which is offset only by the natural calls of the wild and is adorned by the vibrance and beauty of nature.

Fossils of some of the earliest forms of one-celled life have been discovered in the Karoo, indicating that life has existed in this region for more than three billion years. The richness of pre-dinosaur fossils in this region is world-renowned.

With everything from game farms to historical buildings, the Karoo offers you a little bit of everything that is African. To experience the magic of this area, you must venture off the N1 national road where you will discover eccentric little hamlets, sprawling farmsteads and historical towns populated by warm and welcoming people that love to share their stories and legends.