Things to do in the Klein Karoo
Visit the ostrich capital of the world - and then try some of South Africa's greatest dessert wines
The Klein Karoo is the semi-arid wonderland that lies just north of the Outeniqua Mountains - which themselves stand proudly north of Knysna.
The Robinson Pass (between Mossel Bay and Oudtshoorn), the Outeniqua Pass and the Montagu Pass (between George and Oudtshoorn), or the Prince Alfred's Pass (between Knysna and Uniondale): any drive over the Outeniquas to the Klein Karoo is going to be spectacular and exciting - although you may need a 4x4 for the Montagu and Prince Alfred's Passes in rainy weather, so please check ask about the roads at our local tourist offices before you tackle them.
But once you're past the passes, you're presented with a rolling plain of farmlands, nature reserves, villages, and vineyards. And lots - and lots! - of ostriches.
Here are some of our favourite places to visit in the Klein Karoo:
The Ostrich Capital of the World, and the regional capital of the Klein Karoo (about 120 km from Knysna via the Outeniqua Pass).
- Cango Caves: book a walking tour of Africa's most spectacular show caves (and yes, booking is essential). The Cango Caves are situated about 30 km north of Oudtshoorn. www.cango-caves.co.za
- C.P. Nel Museum: with its collections of cars, music instruments, and local history; includes the preserved interior of one of the Victorian-era synagogues that were once the centres of Jewish life in the town. www.cpnelmuseum.co.za
- Buffelsdrift Game Lodge: day visitors can enjoy game drives, meerkat safaris, and the restaurant and spa at this private reserve just beyond the city limits. www.buffelsdrift.com
- Safari Ostrich Show Farm: take a guided tour of this working farm that boasts one of the best-known manor houses in the Victorian Karoo architectural style. www.safariostrich.co.za
This historic little town is the port wine capital of South Africa - and it’s also an adventure destination for birding, fishing, hiking, mountain biking and horse riding.
- Alicatt Tours: if you need someone to show you the unique biodiversity, rich cultural heritage, award winning wines, breathtaking scenery, and warm hospitality of the Klein Karoo, Alistair's your man. www.alicattours.co.za
- Guided Horse and Donkey Trails: Day trips with the Gamka River Safari Co. including 1- to 4-hour excursions for all levels of rider. The 4-hour Vineyard Trail includes wine tasting at Boplaas Estate. www.gamkariversafarico.com
Here are just three of the vineyards that you can visit in and around Calitzdorp.
- Boplaas: ports, muscats, sparkling wines, rose wines, red wines, etc. Tasting room and restaurant open daily. www.boplaas.co.za
- Calitzdorp Cellar: white, red. and fortified wines. Tasting room open daily except Sundays. www.calitzdorpwine.co.za
- De Krans: This innovative estate is one of South Africa's leading producers of fortified dessert wines. Its full range - including Méthode Cap Classique, Chenin Blancs, Chardonnays, Moscatos, Rosés, Cabernet Sauvignons, and so on - has won more than 700 awards since 1980. Tasting room and deli-bistro open daily. www.dekrans.co.za