The Karoo is a vast semi-desert, which is bounded by the coastal mountain ranges in the south and west and by the Orange River in the south and east. The semi-desert has two main sub-regions - the Great Karoo in the north and the Little Karoo in the south. The Great Karoo covers about 400.000 square kilometres, which is about one third of South Africa.
Some big parts of the Karoo lost its original vegetation because of agricultural use – mostly through sheep farming. But the Karoo is still growing and some experts reckon that the semi-desert almost doubled it size in the last 100 years.
There are two major attractions in the Karoo showing the original beauty of this rough and dry landscape – the Karoo National Park and the Camdeboo National Park (previously Karoo Nature Reserve).
How to get around?
You'll need a car to discover the Karoo. There is some public transport mainly around Graaf-Reinet, but renting a car is by far the best way to get around the stunning Karoo. Make use of google maps for a detailled and individual route description.
Where to sleep?
Finding accommodation isn't such a big problem in the Karoo. You can find all kind of accommodation - from posh hotels to backpackers.
Graaf Reinet, founded 1786 and named after the governor of that time "Cornelis Jacob van de Graaff", lies in the middle of the Karoo National Park where another wonder of nature, Valley of Desolation, keep silent memories of times gone by.
Addo Elephant National Park
Not too far from the Karoo region is Addo Elephant National Park, home to roundabout 400 elephants. If you don't have the chance to go further north to see and explore Hluhluwe-Umfolozi or Kruger National Park, visit Addo. Addo is also home to the so-called BIG 7 (Elephant, rhino, lion, buffalo, leopard + whales and the Great White Shark).