The Karoo – blue skies by day, bright skies by night!

Those who dismiss the Karoo as simply a semi-arid wasteland are missing some of SA’s most fascinating attractions.

Among the natural are the awe-inspiring rock formations of Meiringspoort or the Valley of Desolation,  which contrast with the vast plains and typical Karoo flat topped koppies. The hardy vegetation survives against all odds and is remarkably varied. The fauna is too  – but it’s not in-your-face – so glimpses of springbok, meerkat, tortoise, grysbok, pale chanting goshawks etc are all the more exciting and rewarding.

And then there is the sky – a true blue dome which encompasses one, and at night is lit by stars, seemly so close and so many, that one could reach out and gather them by the handful.

Those self-same stars, together with the universe in which they are set, form the basis for global cutting-edge technological attractions like SALT and SKA and C-Bass telescopes. Their sheer physical size is mind-boggling;  couple this with the scope of  their purpose and one is hit with pride at the position South Africa holds within the field of astronomy.

Throw in ubiquitous windmills, quaint dorpies (with unique highlights), hospitable locals and good food and you’ll find the Karoo is well worth a visit. Why not let SA Guided Tours take you there?

Dramatic landscapes

Sandstone cliffs of Meiringspoort
Fold and faults are clearly visible in the sandstone cliffs of Meiringspoort
The dolerite columns of the Valley of Desolation
The Valley of Desolation: Towering dolerite columns and balancing rocks rise from the valley floor far below.
Typical Karoo plain
Vast plains stretch endlessly in contrast to the grand heights of mountains and cliffs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Technological excellence

SALT (Southern African Large Telescope)
SALT (Southern African Large Telescope) which houses the largest single optical telescope in the Southern Hemisphere.
Optical telescopes outside Sutherland
Numerous internationally owned and operated optical telescopes share the koppie near Sutherland with SALT and 3 other South African telescopes.
C- BASS radio telescope near Carnarvon.
Near Carnarvon, this radio telescope, one of only 2 in the world working on the C-BASS project, in collaboration with the South African SKA (Square Kilometer Array) et al, is approximately only 1/3 the size of those erected in the SKA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Classic Contrasts.

A 'volstruis paleis' and a rustic cottage.
Home is where the heart is – whether in the grandeur of a bygone era ‘Volstruis Paleis’ or the rustic simplicity of a cottage.
Meals
Dining and wining – polystyrene style of an impromptu picnic in the dry bed of the Tankwa River vs the candlelit ambiance of ‘Cluster d’Hote’!

And the totally unexpected!

A hilltop chapel with Stations of the Cross meditations.
SA’s own ‘Via Dolorosa’. 14 meditation Stations of the Cross line the footpath ascending to the chapel on the hill.

 

The Showroom Theater in Prince Albert
Art Deco at its best. Sumptuously refurbished, The Showroom in Prince Albert screens weekly movies, and regularly hosts international celebrities from all spheres of the arts.
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