3 Days in the
The heart of the Klein Karoo
The Klein (little) Karoo is a spectacular valley hugged by the Groot-Swart Mountains (north), the Lange Mountains (southwest), and the Outeniqua Mountains (southeast) in the Western Cape. It’s the ‘’fruit basket’’ of the country and excellent wines are produced in this region. The famous Route 62, the longest wine route in the world, connects the charming towns of the little Karoo. There are many gems to be discovered here and to give you a taste I suggest making Oudtshoorn your base. This itinerary is actually based on the very first Soul Safari I hosted!
Day 1: Oudtshoorn
Arrive in Oudtshoorn around lunchtime and check in to your charming B&B (there are SO many options). Buffelsdrift Game Lodge offers very unique afternoon game drives and being immersed in the fresh air of the Klein Karoo a great way to start your trip. Surprisingly, this mostly arid but beautiful landscape is home to a host of interesting fauna and flora. You’ll likely spot eland, springbok, meerkats and other animals that are able to thrive in these sometimes harsh conditions. The afternoon light will give you the perfect glow for great photos. End off the day with a sundowner watching the hippos wallow in the dam. You could even stick around for dinner – the restaurant offers excellent cuisine at really reasonable prices.
Day 2: Prince Albert & Swartberg Pass
Today you’ll head to Prince Albert via Meiringspoort. This beautiful mountain pass will take your breath away. Be sure to stop for a quick walk to the Meiringspoort waterfall en route – there is a dedicated parking area and signage which you can’t miss. Once you’re in Prince Albert we recommend the following stops:
- Gay’s Guernsey Dairy for a taste of award-winning cheeses (the best feta and mozzarella I’ve ever tasted)
- Prince Albert Olives for a tour and olive oil tasting
- If you have a bit more time and you visit in season (January – April), take a drive to Weltevrede Fig Farm for a tour and some delicious fig tart.
- The many local artisans – from art galleries to curio shops with beautiful handmade items
- Indulge in a well-deserved lunch at one of the many cafes and restaurants – I love the Swartberg hotel
- If you visit on a Saturday, be sure not to miss the morning Farmer’s Market for lovely fresh produce and delicious homemade goodies (like insanely good macaroons!)
Once you’re recharged, head back out of town and follow the signs to the Swartberg Pass. This pass is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and offers spectacular views and a thrilling adventure. There are lovely spots to stop along the route for photos and picnics. Keep your eyes open for the very cute klipspringers that inhabit the area. It takes 2 – 3 hours to drive down the pass so make sure you get back to Oudtshoorn before it gets too dark. Here is a more in-depth guide on navigating the Swartberg Pass.
Day 3: Meerkat Magic & the Cango Caves
This is such a special experience! At De Zeekoe Guest Farm, you have the opportunity to enjoy your morning cup of coffee while watching a meerkat family start their day. Before sunrise, you’ll head out into the veld, camping chair in hand, and get settled before the family wakes up. Get your camera’s ready to capture sweet moments of them interacting with each other, hunting and being dutiful sentries. It’s just fascinating watching them!
After breakfast at one of the many delectable cafes in town, visit the iconic Cango Caves if you have time. The Heritage Tour is perfect for families and gives you a great introduction and historic overview of the caves. But if you are adventurous and not too claustrophobic, do the Adventure Tour through the narrow Devil’s Chimney (this is NOT for me). Be sure to book in advance.
Other not-to-be-missed gems:
One can’t visit Oudtshoorn and not visit an Ostrich Farm. There are many ostrich farms one could visit!
Surval Boutique Olive Estate – Book an olive tasting experience in the orchard that includes olive tapenade, olive chutney and table olives paired with wine – devine!
Karusa Winery – this vineyard is located in the beautiful Schoemanshoek en route to the Cango Caves. They are also the first full grain microbrewery in the Little Karoo. Sample some fine wines and craft beers and enjoy lunch on the estate.
Berluda Farmhouse and Cottages
De Zeekoe Guest Farm
Buffelsdrift Game Lodge
Mooiplaas Guest Farm
Surval Boutique Olive Estate
Swartberg Country Manor
There you go. Next time, we’ll travel further along Route 62. I hope you fall in love with this beautiful area as quickly as I did!
“If I’ve ever seen magic it’s been in Africa.“