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The Karoo and Klien Karoo with a size of 500,000 km² covers almost one third of the territory of South Africa. Travelling through the Karoo will take you through various towns starting from Cape Town via Victoria West and Prince Albert through the interior to Port Elizabeth. The Karoo Route 2 goes from Port Elizabeth via Cradock, Graaff-Reinet and Beaufort West through the Big Karoo back to Cape Town.
Historic towns such as Graaff-Reinet and Victoria West, the enchanting, if not unique, landscapes of the (former) Zuurberg National Park, the elephants of the Addo Elephants National Park, the expanses of the semi-desert Great (Central) Karoo, the picturesque tranquillity of places like Prince Albert and Montagu, they are mostly overshadowed by the Garden Route, tourist resorts such as Overberg and Cape Town.
Heading to Victoria West from Port Elizabeth, the landscape becomes drier (savanna), and a semi-extensive grazing and irrigated farming increasingly determine the picture towards Karoo. First stop should be at Addo Elephants National Park and Nieu Bethesda the last large settlement off the semi-desert, lives on tobacco. Then witness mountains and eternal expanses take over the scenery, the grazing is purely extensive, and there are only trees on the rivers.
Typical vegetation of the Karoo can be found united in the Karoo National Park. The fascination of the (semi) desert can not be emphasised often enough. Victoria West like later Three Sisters, appears like an oasis in this “sea of dryness”. Green trees, z.T. even park-like facilities attracted the first settlers to these small towns more than 200 years ago. Historical relics, especially in Graaff-Reinet, are worth the way here today. As idyllic as Victoria West may be with its white Cape Dutch buildings from the late 18th century, it is unfortunate that Victoria West is now suffering from the massive traffic along the N1.
Whether the (further) detour to the Mountain Zebra in the Mountain Zebra National Park or the sleepy, “cute” town of Prince Albert must lead, it seems obvious, but we especially liked the way there, because on the Branch line to Prince Albert It really only becomes clear how lonely life can be in the Great Karoo.
Victoria West, one of the last stops in the Karoo, before Cape Town, is now worth more than a mandatory break. As small as it is, so worth seeing are the old hotel, the train station and the London double-decker bus, which repeatedly stirs up the dust of the local roads during the sightseeing tour.