Reasons why people love the Karoo, South Africa
The Karoo Food Festival
The Karoo Food Festival celebrates traditional ‘kos’ (food) and each dish is flavoured with nostalgia and heritage. The whole affair has a laid back, family-feel and draws people from around the country. Expect to enjoy a lively food market, high-table dinners, tastings, cooking master classes, free demos, gin bars, craft beer and live music. The festival takes place in Cradock from 26-28 April 2019 and this year is the 7th annual Karoo Food Festival.
Hearty Karoo food
Even if you don’t make it to the Karoo Food Festival, there is still wonderful food to be enjoyed in the Karoo. Eating and drinking is a culinary experience that is not to be missed. Here is some of the Karoo food to enjoy as you travel around the Karoo:
- Karoo Lamb – Karoo lamb is traditionally regarded to be more flavoursome than other lamb because of the fragrant bushes that the Karoo lamb feed on which give the meet a ‘herbiness’ that is unique to the Karoo.
- Ostrich – Ostrich is another meat that you can enjoy across the Karoo. It is the healthiest of all red meat and is cholesterol free and versatile – look out for ostrich burgers, ostrich steaks and ostrich stew.
- Potjiekos (small pot of food) – this stew is traditionally cooked over a fire in a potjie (small pot). It originated with the Voortrekkers and usually contains vegetables and meat slow-cooked together with various spices.
- Koeksisters – Koeksisters are a South African treat consisting of twisted pastry that is deep-fried and dipped in a spicy sugar syrup. As you travel across the Karoo look out for this delicious treat – everyone claims they make the best!
If exploring history interests you, then you have to visit the Karoo. The Karoo is one of South Africa’s richest fossil sites and many of the dinosaur fossils displayed in museums around the world come for the Karoo, which was home to gigantic dinosaurs like the Diictodon and the Pareiasaurus.
The Karoo has the most beautiful night skies due to the lack of pollution, the lack of humidity and the lack of light. The upper Karoo highland has been given the nickname ‘Gateway to the Universe’ and the Karoo town that is best for stargazing is Sutherland, home to the world-famous Southern Africa Large Telescope (SALT) – the largest single optical telescope in the southern hemisphere.
Authentic farm stays
The Karoo is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy a real farm stay. Most of the farms offer overnight accommodation and some include the opportunity to try working or touring a working farm. Others allow fresh fruit and herb picking.
The Valley of Desolation
The Valley of Desolation has truly magnificent scenery consisting of towering dolerite cliffs and sparse bushes. To view this magical area, visit it at either sunrise or sunset when the sun’s rays beautifully illuminate this rocky landscape.
An extravaganza of flowers
The Karoo is famous for its beautiful carpets of flowers, which suddenly appear for a few weeks between August and October every year. The riot of colour depends on the winter rains, but when the conditions are perfect the area of the Karoo known as the Namaqualand puts on a display that is world-famous. To view the flowers in all their glory visit the Namaqua National Park, Richtersveld National Park and the Goegap.