• The Great Karoo, Eastern Cape, South Africa

What is the Karoo

So you've seen us mention the Karoo, but what is it?

The Karoo is a semi-arid geographical area in South Africa.  It spans over four of the nine provinces that the country is made up of; the Eastern Cape (that's us!), Western Cape, Northern Cape and Free State.  The Karoo area is almost 400 000 sq km in size, that's over 150 000 sq miles!  The soil is incredibly fertile, as in most arid areas, but the annual rainfall is low.  There is a lot of underground water, which is used for livestock and irrigation, but the true richness of the Karoo is in the natural plant life.  

Plants such as Karoo Gold (Rhigozum obovatum) which occurs in the central and eastern Karoo are very nutritious to animals, and the Karoo Bush (Pentzia incana) is where Karoo Lamb gets it's unique flavour.  It has been said that the Karoo is best appreciated on your knees, and the reason for this, is that you will then notice all the abundant life sustained by this arid area.

Why is the Karoo so special?

It creeps up on you!  Once you stop and smell the Karoo, it creeps into your soul.  The silence, and space helps you to breathe.  No hustle and bustle in a big city.  No pollution in the sky.  And the only traffic you'll find, would be the four legged kind, either sheep being moved from one grazing area to the next, or a Kudu crossing the road to get to greener pastures.

Great for Paleontology!

It's hard to believe, but the Karoo used to be a marshland.  The Karoo Supergroup was formed in a vast basin over 320 million years ago.  We could go into the technicalities of the soil and the how erosion has shaped the countryside, especially over the last 20 million years; but you could look up the Karoo in Wikipedia and read all about that.  The fact of the matter is that the area is incredibly rich in history, and fossils are still found today by both professional and amateur paleontologists.  You could find one too, on one of our Fossil Tours.

The Karoo is a part of us, and our love of the area, and local knowledge will definitely infect you too!