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  1. Encourage and boost local tourism through making holidays more affordable.
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Small South Africa flagSouth Africa

Hantam Karoo & Upper Karoo Accommodation

Explore on Map Map of Hantam Karoo & Upper Karoo Accommodation

It might be dry - but there's lots more to the eye

The Hantam Karoo and Upper Karoo regions of the Northern Cape are bounded on three sides by the provincial boundaries and the Orange River. 250 million years ago the Hantam Karoo was a vast inland sea surrounded by primeval forest, lush vegetation and huge mammals. After the breakup of Gondwanaland the region slowly turned into the arid semi-desert we find today. The whole region is renowned for its completely unpolluted skies and the magnificent view of the heavens at night, making it the perfect setting for South Africa's Astronomical Observatory. The area is a region of wide-open plains dotted with rugged mountains and koppies. Wild life and beautiful flora abound, and there are a number of recognized 4x4 trails dotted about throughout the region. The Upper Karoo is more barren than the Hantam Karoo, but both areas explode into brilliant colour with the onset of the summer rains. The Tankwa Karoo National Park, to the west of Sutherland, is the driest place in South Africa.

In the East of the Hantam Karoo and Upper Karoo region the visitor will find numerous deserted towns which had originally sprung up at the time of the diamond rush in and around Kimberly. Diamonds have long since petered out, though there can still be found a handful of persistent miners who spend their time sifting through gravel in the hope of finding that elusive stone. I remember once taking a wrong turn and ending up in a tiny village where the miners were on their stoeps on a late Friday afternoon sipping beer. It was just as if I had stepped back in time by eighty or more years.

Just outside the town of Carnarvon at Stuurmansfontein can be seen some fine examples of corbelled houses. The first corbelled buildings were erected in the early 1800s and served as homes for the early pioneers. They are similar to buildings known to have existed in France, Italy and Portugal and are built with flat stones cemented together with a mixture of straw and mud.

The principal town of the Upper Karoo is De Aar, which has become the central distribution point for the succulent Karoo meat, unique in flavour and quality. The town is an important rail junction for Johannesburg, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Namibia. De Aar is famed for its generous hospitality.

A few kilometers to the East of De Aar is a fine example of a Karoo dorp from the past - this is Hanover. This small Karoo town was established in 1854 on a farm belonging to a man called Gous and named after one of his ancestors. When the first houses were built they were compelled to be built directly on the edge of the main road with their gardens at the rear. Owners had to pay a shilling a year tax for the priviledge of having a stoep at the front of the house encroaching the road - this tax is still imposed to this day.

The Hantam Karoo and Upper Karoo town of Victoria West gets its name from Queen Victoria and little has changed since it was first established in 1843. The town is wedged between two mountains and the Ongers River. The town is on the watershed between the West and East coasts of South Africa. To the South of the town is the small Victoria West Nature Reserve, home to a large collection of the riverine rabbit, only found in the central Karoo.

The Karoo is a region of South Africa that should not be missed by the visitor. It is mostly inhabited by sheep and widely scattered acacia trees and shrubs. In the Kalahari Desert can still be found scattered groups of San (bushmen) who have chosen to remain in the desert, unchanged by modern technology.

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Explore in pictures...

The "sleepy town" of Carnarvon, Upper Karoo & Hantam Karoo
The Three Sisters hills, Upper Karoo & Hantam Karoo
Architecture: Oude Dak (old roof), 237 Paul Street, Richmond, Upper Karoo & Hantam Karoo
Dutch Reformed Church on Loop St (walk street), Richmond, Upper Karoo & Hantam Karoo
Dutch Reformed Church, Victoria West, Upper Karoo & Hantam Karoo
Anglo Boer War blockhouse, Victoria West, Upper Karoo & Hantam Karoo
St John's Kerk circa 1869, Victoria West, Upper Karoo & Hantam Karoo
Dutch Reformed Church, Vosburg, Upper Karoo & Hantam Karoo
Vanderkloof Dam is the second largest dam in South Africa (by volume). It also has the highest dam wall in the country at 108m
Dutch Reformed Church at Philipstown, Upper Karoo & Hantam Karoo
Noupoort, Upper Karoo & Hantam Karoo
Old Anglican Church, currently used as a museum, Shaw Street, Noupoort, Upper Karoo & Hantam Karoo
Anglo-Boer War Blockhouse, Hospital Hill, Noupoort, Upper Karoo & Hantam Karoo
Concentration camp memorial for woman and children who died while prisoners during the Anglo Boer war, Norvalspont, Upper Karoo & Hantam Karoo
Town of Loxton, Upper Karoo & Hantam Karoo
Dutch Reformed Church at Loxton, Upper Karoo & Hantam Karoo
R381 road from Loxton to Beaufort West, Upper Karoo & Hantam Karoo
The Aloe "forest" is to be found north of Nieuwoudtville and south of Loeriesfontein, Upper Karoo & Hantam Karoo
The windmill display at Loeriesfontein. There are 23 old water-pumping windmills on display here, within the "Fred Turner" folk and culture museum. Often referred to as the "Windmill Museum".
Looking towards Hanover from Trappieskop, Upper Karoo & Hantam Karoo
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Dutch Reformed Church, Church Street, Hanover, Upper Karoo & Hantam Karoo
Trappieskop - a pyramid of stone marks the grave of three young men executed under dubious circumstances during the Anglo-Boer War. It bears the inscription: ‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord’
Fraserburg, Upper Karoo & Hantam Karoo
Architecture: 10 Meyburgh St, Fraserburg, Upper Karoo & Hantam Karoo
Dutch Reformed Church, Nieuwoudtville
Doorn River waterfall situated a few miles north of Nieuwoudtville on the road to Loeriesfontein. The river plunges through an opening in the rock down a precipice of approximately 90 metres
Dutch Reformed Church, Stockenstrom Street, Colesberg, Upper Karoo & Hantam Karoo
Architecture: 2 Sarel Cilliers Street, Colesberg, Upper Karoo & Hantam Karoo
Architecture: Gideon Joubert House, 9 DÚrban Row in Colesberg, Upper Karoo & Hantam Karoo
Architecture: Dutch Reformed Church, Colesburg, Upper Karoo & Hantam Karoo
Colesberg night scene, Upper Karoo & Hantam Karoo
Kemper Museum in Colesberg, Upper Karoo & Hantam Karoo
Dutch Reformed Church, Williston, Upper Karoo & Hantam Karoo
Place of interest: Williston Mall, Williston, Upper Karoo & Hantam Karoo
Place of interest: Williston Mall, Williston, Upper Karoo & Hantam Karoo
The South African Astronomical Observatory, Sutherland, Upper Karoo & Hantam Karoo
Fort Steenbok, one of the numerous Second Boer War fortifications built by the British around Sutherland, Upper Karoo & Hantam Karoo
Early morning in Calvinia, Upper Karoo & Hantam Karoo
Architecture: House circa 1896, Pastorie Street, Calvinia, Upper Karoo & Hantam Karoo
Architecture: Victorian villa in Calvinia, Upper Karoo & Hantam Karoo
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Arhitecture: Hantam House circa 1853, Calvinia, Upper Karoo & Hantam Karoo
Dutch Reformed Church, Voortrekker Street, Brandvlei, Upper Karoo & Hantam Karoo
Dutch Reformed Church, Britstown, Upper Karoo & Hantam Karoo
Corbelled House, Stuurmansfontein, Carnarvon, Upper Karoo & Hantam Karoo
Corbelled house roof interior. This one remains open, but many are sealed closed. Stuurmansfontein, Carnarvon, Upper Karoo & Hantam Karoo
Built by Frans Carel Te Water in 1886. Now restored and home to a Guesthouse, Carnarvon, Upper Karoo & Hantam Karoo
Transnet Heritage Class 6J 645 on Kimberley De Aar Line, De Aar, Upper Karoo & Hantam Karoo
In 1900 a British military field hospital (Imperial Yeomanry Hospital) was constructed for casualties of the Second Boer War. The location chosen for its communications, dry climate and proximity to De Aar, then the centre of hostilities
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Branch: Master