Updated: Aug 15
Olive Schreiner wrote that the Karoo makes one realise “many so-called important things are really insignificant, yet so many insignificant things are important.” The dusty solitude of the Karoo holds a unique allure, especially when contrasted with the chaos of cramped big cities and starless nights. The Karoo, a vast semi-desert region in South Africa, offers a stark contrast to the hustle and bustle of urban life. In the Karoo, the vastness of the landscape stretches out before you, seemingly endless. The arid plains are dotted with sparse vegetation, beautiful flowers and rocky outcrops, creating a sense of isolation and tranquillity. The silence is deafening, broken only by the occasional howl of the wind or the distant call of a bird. The open spaces and wide horizons provide a sense of perspective, reminding us of our place in the grand scheme of things. The Karoo's vastness allows the mind to wander, to reflect, and find solace in the simplicity of the natural world.
Schreiner was a South African author, anti-war campaigner and intellectual. She is best remembered for her novel The Story of an African Farm, written in 1883, it has been highly acclaimed. She was asthmatic and the dry Karoo climate suited her health. As a Karoo nomad, she embraced a life of constant movement, living in, and exploring the small towns that dotted the Karoo landscape. These towns, seemingly untouched by time, held a unique charm that captivated her. Schreiner lived in a town nestled in the heart of the Karoo called Cradock on three occasions, and this is where she completed her famous novel The Story of an African Farm. Cradock is where our off-road adventure begins. With its rich history and rugged landscapes, it serves as the perfect starting point for our journey into the Karoo… Our off-road vehicles rumble to life, ready to conquer the rugged terrain that lies ahead. As we set off from Cradock, the anticipation builds, knowing that we are about to immerse ourselves in the untamed beauty of the Karoo. On this off-road adventure, we will visit and stay over in some of the most incredible places. As dust swirls in our wake, we venture deeper into the untamed Karoo wilderness travelling towards Loxton in the Northern Cape province. Loxton is one of the major wool-producing Karoo towns and is in one of the largest garlic-producing areas in South Africa. Loxton was originally a farm called Phizantefontein, which was owned by A.E. Loxton, whom the town is now named after. The Karoo's star-filled nights offer a stark contrast to the starless skies of the city. With minimal light pollution, the Karoo's night sky becomes a canvas adorned with countless twinkling stars. The beauty and majesty of the Milky Way stretch across the black canvas, reminding us of the immensity of the universe and our own insignificance in comparison. We spend the third night of the tour in Sutherland. It’s known for its extremely cold winters and clear skies, making it a popular destination for stargazing and astronomy enthusiasts. Sutherland is home to the South African Astronomical Observatory, which operates the largest single optical telescope in the Southern Hemisphere. Next, the adventure takes us through the Tankwa. Tankwa is a region of the Karoo in the Northern Cape, known for its arid landscapes and stunning natural beauty. The Tankwa Padstal is a popular stop for travellers passing through the area. It is a roadside farm stall that offers refreshments, meals, and local products. We’ll be having lunch here and while there are no actual claims of extra-terrestrial beings in the Karoo, you might just be able to capture a snapshot of a UFO and its passengers that crash-landed on a nearby rocky hill... It’s on to Calvina for the night, a small town located in the Hantam region of the Great Karoo. It is known for its charming Victorian architecture and is home to the Calvinia Museum, which showcases the history and culture of the area. To reach Calvinia, we travel along the longest continuous gravel road in South Africa, which offers a unique and adventurous off-road experience. From Calvina we venture to Clanwilliam via Loeriesfontein which is situated in an area of the Karoo known as Namaqualand. The Windpump Museum situated on the grounds of the Fred Turner Museum is Loeriesfontein’s largest tourism attraction and features a collection of 27 working windpumps. Windpumps are still used today to pump life-giving water in the Karoo. Wandering around the display of windpumps one is struck by their intricate construction and the size of the individual blades designed to catch even the lightest of breezes. Leaving Loeriesfontein we travel the gravel roads of Namaqualand. Namaqualand is famous for its annual spring flower spectacle, where the arid landscapes burst into vibrant colours as countless Namaqualand daisies bloom. The Botterkloof Pass is a scenic route that connects the Northern and Western Cape provinces, offering breathtaking views along the way it leads us to our stop for the evening, Clanwilliam. It’s a picturesque town with a rich history. It is home to the Clanwilliam Museum, which showcases the town's heritage, including its colonial past and indigenous culture. The town is also a gateway to the Cederberg Wilderness Area, a rugged mountain range known for its rock formations, hiking trails, and ancient San rock art. After spending the evening in Clanwilliam, the following day you can embark on an optional exploration of the Cederberg Mountains and the nearby village of Wupperthal. Wupperthal is a quaint mission village known for its historical buildings and traditional way of life. One of the main attractions in Wupperthal is the Wupperthal Mission Station, which dates back to 1830. The Cederberg Mountains are known for their dramatic rock formations, hiking trails, and rich biodiversity. Driving through winding mountain roads, taking in the stunning views of the rugged landscape. Along the way, you might spot unique rock formations like the Wolfberg Arch or the Maltese Cross. For lunch, we make a stop at the famous Cederberg Oasis, a charming restaurant and farm stall located in the heart of the Cederberg region. The Cederberg Oasis offers a variety of delicious meals, including traditional South African dishes and homemade treats. You can enjoy your lunch while taking in the beautiful surroundings and perhaps even spot some wildlife that might wander by. We continue our exploration of the Cederberg Mountains on the way back to Clanwilliam. Today you’ll have experienced the natural beauty and cultural heritage of this unique region in South Africa. On the last day of our adventure, we embark on a scenic off-road drive from Clanwilliam to Paternoster. The journey takes us through the rugged and beautiful Truitjieskraal Nature Reserve, renowned for its unique rock formations. We follow the gravel routes until we reach the Travellers Cave, a natural cave that served as a shelter for early settlers. We take some time to explore the cave and marvel at the stunning scenery surrounding it. As we continue our drive, we pass through the Banghoek Nature Reserve, a picturesque wilderness area known for its rich biodiversity. The reserve is home to a wide range of plant and animal species, making it a haven for nature enthusiasts. Enjoy the diverse flora and fauna as we make our way towards Paternoster, the final stop on our off-road adventure. Upon arrival in Paternoster, a charming west coast fishing village, we head straight to the beach for a lunch of fresh, local Fish and Chips. Paternoster is famous for its pristine beaches, white-washed cottages, and mouthwatering seafood. After our delicious meal, spend the rest of the day unwinding on the beach, soaking up the sun, and taking in the tranquil atmosphere. For those interested in art and culture, Paternoster is home to various art galleries and shops. Take the opportunity to explore these establishments, browsing through unique artwork and locally crafted souvenirs. As the day draws to a close, we gather for our final dinner at one of the village's renowned seafood restaurants. The dusty solitude of the Karoo can offer a mental escape from the constraints of urban life. It serves as a reminder that there are places where we can find solace, clarity, and a renewed sense of perspective. It reminds us that there is a world beyond the cramped confines of the city, a world of vast open spaces, starry nights, and a sense of solitude that allows us to reconnect with ourselves, the natural world and the Universe…
Accommodation And Food
Karoo Guest House Accommodation: When visiting the Karoo, finding the perfect accommodation is crucial to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience. Luckily, the Karoo offers a variety of charming and welcoming guest houses that will make you feel right at home. The Karoo has it all. SA Adventure utilises a variety of cosy cottages, luxurious guest houses, and rustic farmhouses. All the accommodation on this adventure boasts beautiful gardens, tranquil surroundings, and stunning views of the Karoo landscape, helping to immerse you into the peace and quiet that the Karoo offers. The guest houses in the Karoo pride themselves on providing exceptional service and creating a warm and inviting atmosphere for their guests. The hosts are always friendly, knowledgeable, and eager to share their love and passion for the region. Karoo Restaurants: No trip to the Karoo is complete without indulging in the local cuisine at one of the charming restaurants. The Karoo is known for its hearty and delicious dishes that will satisfy your taste buds and leave you craving more. We have gone off the beaten trail to find some of the hidden culinary gems for you to experience, from traditional Karoo fare to international cuisine with a local Karoo twist, these restaurants and eateries offer a diverse range of options to suit every palate. They use fresh, locally sourced ingredients to create dishes bursting with flavour and authenticity. Whether you're in the mood for a juicy Karoo lamb chop, a succulent steak, or a vegetarian delight, you'll find it all on the Karoo to Coast off-road adventure. 6 nights of accommodation and breakfasts are included with this tour package.
Stunning Karoo landscapes
Star gazing in Sutherland
Amazing gravel road routes
Namaqualand flora and fauna
Lunch at the Tankwa Padstal
Truitjieskraal nature reserve
The Botterkloof and Ouberg Passes
Travelling through the Tankwa Karoo
The Fred Turner windpomp museum
The village of Wupperthal
The Cederberg Mountains
Outstanding Karoo accommodation and cuisine
Learning new off-road driving skills on the fly
Fish and chips on the beach in Paternoster
Dates and Pricing
13-18 November 2023 / 21-26 Mar 2024
R 11 850 per person sharing
Single room supplement at R 2 200
Only 12 places are available
Guest house accommodation
Guides, medic and support vehicle on the tour
GPS tracks supplied
4x4 soft roader friendly
6 nights of guest house accommodation
On-the-fly off-road driver training and guidance
Star gazing experience in Sutherland
Full SA Adventure support team
What You'll Learn on the Fly
Embarking on an adventure to the Karoo is an experience like no other. This vast and diverse region in South Africa offers a plethora of opportunities to learn and discover. Here are some of the things you can expect to learn on this adventure:
Geology and Natural History: The Karoo is renowned for its unique geological formations and rich natural history. As we explore the region, you'll have the chance to learn about the ancient rock formations, fossils, and evidence of prehistoric life that have been preserved in the Karoo.
Wildlife and Conservation: The Karoo is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including lion, cheetah, Cape mountain zebra, springbok and various bird species as well as the unique Karoo flora.
Cultural Heritage: The Karoo is steeped in history and culture, with a rich heritage that reflects the influences of its diverse inhabitants. You'll get to explore their museums, galleries, and historical sites to learn about the Karoo's past.
Stargazing and Astronomy: The Karoo is known for its clear skies, making it a prime location for stargazing and astronomy enthusiasts. Join a guided stargazing tour or visit one of the observatories in the Sutherland area to learn about the constellations, planets, and galaxies visible from this remote and unpolluted region. Expand your knowledge of the universe and marvel at the beauty of the night sky.
Sustainable Living and Farming: The Karoo's vast plains and semi-arid climate have shaped a unique way of life for its residents. Learn about the challenges and successes of sustainable farming practices in this arid environment.
Spirituality and Mindfulness: The Karoo's wide-open spaces and tranquil surroundings offer the perfect setting for introspection and mindfulness. Engage in meditation or simply take a moment to connect with nature and find peace in the serenity of the Karoo. Learn about the spiritual significance of the ancient land and its impact on personal well-being.
This 4x4 off-road adventure is for you if:
You’ve never driven your 4x4 vehicle off-road before.
You’ve driven off-road but would like an extra boost of confidence to take your vehicle off the beaten path.
You would like to further your off-road knowledge and learn new off-road driving techniques.
You'd like to invest in yourself and become a safer, more confident off-road driver.
This adventure is not just about exploring the physical landscape of the Karoo; it's an opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of knowledge, history, and experiences that this unique region has to offer. So, pack your curiosity and embark on a journey of discovery in the Karoo with us!
So why go on this Karoo experience with SA Adventure? The answer to that question is simple: we know what we are doing! SA Adventure has been conducting off-road adventure experiences since way back in 2009. Our track record speaks for itself... We have organized and led adventures from Peru to the Karoo and beyond. We've worked with and supported Cha
rley Boorman, Billy Ward, Claudio Von Planta, Dylan Wickrama, Moto Aventures and Compass Expeditions. We pride ourselves on safety. Nothing is more important than your well-being while on your 4x4 adventure. We have a full support vehicle and trailer, a lead and sweep vehicle, and a medic on every tour. You always drive at the pace you are comfortable with and you have the support of our excellent backup crew. We have got your back! You can relax on your off-road adventure and rest assured that we have taken care of all the little details to make your 4x4 experience an unforgettable one...
This off-road tour has a Grade 2 rating.
Please see our tour grading system HERE.
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Stay Safe, Big Love, the SA Adventure Team!