Things to do in the Little Karoo...

Oudtshoorn – Prince Albert – Klaarstroom – De Rust - Dysselsdorp

 

Oudtshoorn Karusa Vineyards. Things to do: taste superb wines and handcrafted beer; deli; relax on the stoep.

From here onto the historic and scenic Swartberg Pass. The pass is 27 km long and considered one of the most spectacular mountain passes in the world - an gravel road winds to the summit 1 583 meters above sea level in steep zigzags and sudden switchbacks with breathtaking views at every turn. The turn-off to the remote Gamkaskloof is near the summit of the pass. Things to do: hike or cycle down the mountain; bring your own picnic; breakfast at the old Toll House; visit Gamkaskloof.

Picturesque Prince Albert lies at the foot of the Swartberg Pass. Things to do: wine tasting; Gay's Guernsey cheese; cooking school; ghost walks; olives; mohair products; indigenous seeds; farmers’ market; labyrinth. From here, travel along the R407 to Bergwater Vineyards. Things to do: taste the red wine from the first cellar in the Great Karoo; olives; guest house; 4 x 4 trails.

At Klaarstroom you might stop at the local tea room - if the sign is up outside the guest house - feel free to drop in. Now through Meiringspoort with its incredible passageway of various towering sandstone cliffs that pierce the heart of the Swartberg Mountain Range. The plant life on the mountains is exceptional, including species such as mountain Fynbos, Renosterveldt, Karoo veldt, Spekboom, Aloes, Proteas and the well-known Pelargonium zonale, the ancestor of all Geraniums, which was first collected during 1689 in Meiringspoort

Visit De Rust for Klein Karoo hospitality and Excelsior-Vlakteplaas Muscadel. Their products could be obtained from the local liquor store. Things to do: glass products, antiques, art gallery; donkey car rides; waterskiing; fishing; hiking; red hills; history. Stop at Domein-Doornkraal for their Tickled Pink sparkling or some fortified wines Things to do: browse through the country shop with lots of local goodies.

Remember to visit Dysselsdorp on your way back to Oudtshoorn. Things to do: liquorice factory, ostrich feather sorting; Via Dolorosa; dried fruit.
 

Spend an unforgettable day in the Klein Karoo

Distances: Oudtshoorn to Prince Albert (66 km) - Prince Albert to Bergwater Vineyards (22 km) - Bergwater Vineyards to Klaarstroom (30 km) - Klaarstroom to De Rust (22 km) - De Rust to Domein-Doornkraal (13 km) - Domein-Doornkraal to Oudtshoorn (23 km).Round trip is 176 km.


Reasons to visit Prince Albert

Prince Albert is a delightful South African village in the Karoo known for its sun-ripened fresh and dried fruit, especially figs and apricots. The town enjoys a superb climate, a high sunshine index and spectacular night skies. Karoo lamb, olives, olive oil and cheese are local delicacies.


1. Culture and history

Fransie Pienaar Museum Prince Albert's story from prehistory to today, including the Anglo Boer War, the gold rush, building the Swartberg Pass and distilling witblits.
Tel:  +27 23 541 1172 
E-mail: fransiepmuseum@lantic.net 

Historical Walks Meet some of the people who made Prince Albert what it is today - from Zacharius and Dina De Beer, who arrived in 1762, to Carel Lotz who created the Prince Albert Gables during the 1850's, to Dr Piet Luttig - a Boer War Rebel. See well-preserved examples of Karoo cottages, Victorian homes and various National monuments. Afternoons only.
Tel:  +27 23 541 1211 
E-mail: story@storyweavers.co.za 
Website: www.storyweaver.co.za 

Prince Albert Gallery Regular exhibitions by South African artists, sculptors, ceramicists and photographers. 
Tel:  +27 23 5411 057 
E-mail: karoogallery@intekom.co.za


2. Olives

Swartrivier Olive Farm 
Tel:  +27 23 541 1917
E-mail: jonolyf@webmail.co.za 
Website: www.patourism.co.za 
Kredouw Olive Farm 
Tel:  +27 23 5411 105
E-mail: admin@kredouwfarm.com 
Website: www.kredouwfarm.com
Olive Festival 
Tel:  +27 23 5411 366
E-mail: princealberttourism@intekom.co.za  
Website: www.patourism.co.za


3. Nature

Cape Nature is responsible for the management of two of the Klein Karoo's largest wilderness areas, namely the Swartberg Nature Reserve, which includes the remote Gamkaskloof, or "The Hell" and the Gamkaberg Nature Reserve - a succulent botanist's dream destination in the Red Mountain Range. 
Tel:  +27 21 659 3500
E-mail: info@capenature.co.za  
Website: www.capenature.co.za 

Gamkaskloof also known as "The Hell", is a fascinating valley near Prince Albert, where a small, proud community lived in isolation for more than 100 years. Access to Gamkaskloof is 15km from Prince Albert, near the summit of the Swartberg Pass. Visitors should allow almost a full day in a sturdy vehicle to travel the 57km to the end of the valley and back. You can stay overnight but you must make a booking! 
Tel:  +27 23 541 1107
E-mail: info@diehel.com  
Website: www.diehel.com 

Renu Karoo Indigenous seed for Karoo veldt restoration; indigenous Karoo succulents, shrubs and trees for gardens; herbs; compost. 
Tel:  +27 23 541 1828
E-mail: renukaroo@gmail.com  
Website: www.renu-karoo.co.za  

4. Adventure Activities

4X4 Routes The Klein Karoo is criss-crossed with secondary roads (dirt or gravel) which provide a large variety of interesting and scenic drives as well as the highest concentration of 4x4 routes in the country. Several options exist with differently graded routes suitable for all types of off-road vehicles and drivers with different levels of experience. 

Cycling Hire a mountain bike at the National Garage at the north entrance to town. 
Three Passes Tour Starting early in the morning, we drop you off at Meiringspoort where you cycle 17km's downhill through the poort, then on to Montague Pass where you do an easy 6km's uphill and 14km's downhill. Finally, we get to see what you're made of and tackle the mighty Swartberg Pass which is 1.5km's uphill and 19km's downhill. This includes all bicycles, safety gear, water bottles and back-up. 
Tel:  + 27 23 5411 227
E-mail: lindsay@dennehof.co.za
Website: www.dennehof.co.za 

Donkey Trails The Donkey Trail is an authentic heritage experience that takes you on an extraordinary hike over the Swartberg Mountain. 
Tel:  +27 44 213 3990
E-mail: calbitz@mweb.co.za 
Website: www.donkeytrail.com 

Hiking Some people just love the wide open spaces of the Klein Karoo, others appreciate the fact that they are hiking a world heritage site, still others appreciate the beauty of walking through an ecological hotspot where three plant biomes (succulent karoo, cape thicket and fynbos) converge. 
Tel:  +27 21 659 3500
E-mail: bookings@capenature.co.za 
Website: www.capenature.co.za 
Koppie Trail On the hill behind the village (no permit required). The path starts at the top of Cromwell Street and ends in Klipstreet. Wear a hat, sturdy shoes or boots and carry some water. Wonderful views of the village and the Karoo. 
Tel:  +27 23 5411 366
E-mail: princealberttourism@intekom.co.za 
Website: www.patourism.co.za 


5. More activities...


Cheese Gay's Guernsey Dairy provides farm-fresh milk, yoghurt, cream, amasi, feta and hard cheeses. 
Tel:  +27 23 5411 274 
E-mail: gaysguernseydairy.yolasite.com 

Farmers’ Market Every Saturday morning on the square next to the Fransie Pienaar Museum. Stallholders offer dried fruit, homemade jams, pickles, cakes and bread, fresh fruit and vegetables. Enjoy a cup of coffee and a pancake or an early lunch at the market.
Tel:  +27 23 5411 366 
E-mail: princealberttourism@intekom.co.za  

Karoo Labyrinth Is situated in the garden at St John the Baptist Church and has been constructed from local materials and indigenous plants. The path is defined by stones and weaves its way from the Church door towards a tree which provides shade for quiet contemplation and prayer.
E-mail: story@storyweavers.co.za 
Website: www.storyweaver.co.za/labyrinth.htm 

Wolskuur Spinners For 100% mohair hand-woven carpets, jerseys, mohair blankets and other mohair products. 
Tel:  +27 23 5411 363 
E-mail: woolspin@telkomsa.net


Reasons to visit De Rust

At the foot of the Swartberg lies the natural beauty of De Rust, a little farm village with a peaceful environment. Everything about De Rust is true - true hospitality, true Karoo environment and true peace and quiet.


1. Culture and history

Historical Building Walking Trail in town highlights popular building styles of the area. Visit the NG Church, Curio and Gift shops and view antiques and collectables at the Schoemans Gallery.

 

2. Nature


Animals A large variety of animals like klipspringer, grey rhebok, kudu, dassies, baboons, caracal and Cape mountain leopard are found in this area. Some of the most primitive beetle species (Colophon spp.) in the world can be found on the peaks of Meiringspoort. An amazing collection of bird life is also found here e.g. black-, fish- and martial eagle, Cape sugarbird and pied kingfisher. 

Meiringspoort With its incredible passageway of various towering sandstone cliffs that pierce the heart of the Swartberg Mountain Range. The plant life on the mountains is exceptional including species such as mountain Fynbos, Renosterveld, Karoo veldt, Spekboom, Aloes, Proteas as well as the well-known Pelargonium zonale, the ancestor of all Geraniums, which was first collected during 1689 in Meiringspoort. Guided tours are available. 
Tel:  + 27 23 5411 227
E-mail: lindsay@dennehof.co.za 
Website: www.dennehof.co.za 

Red Hills This Declared Nature Heritage site consists of red coloured open caves and is the only spot known in the world where the conglomerate stone enon appears above the earth. Take the 1½hr hiking trail on the farm to explore. Permit available from the Mons Ruber Wine Tasting Centre. 
Tel:  +27 44 251 6550
E-mail: monsr@lantic.net 
Website: www.geocities.com/monsr-za


3. Adventure Activities

Stompdrift Dam Offers fishing (a regular carp derby twice a year), boating, skiing, kayaking, swimming and a bird watching trip on a safari ship. Situated 6km outside of town, it is the largest dam in the Klein Karoo with a coastline of 25km. 
Tel:  +27 44 241 2087
E-mail: stompdriftdam@telkomsa.net 
Website: www.stompdriftdam.co.za 

Cycling Cycling on identified farm roads are safe and serene.

Hiking Pantry and Medicine Chest Smell and taste the plants used by the Khoisan to cure ailments. This 45 minute hiking trail will be quite an experience. 
Tel:  +27 44 382 7550
E-mail: info@toorfontein.co.za 
Website: www.toorfontein.co.za


4. More activities...


Houseboat Cruises Relax with a Sunset Cruise, bird watching safari or champagne breakfast on our safari ship “Stompie” - she can take up to 40 passengers. Or explore the more than 25km “coastline” of Stompdrift Dam with our luxury houseboat, Loeloeraai, for the real family treat and break-away. 
Tel:  +27 44 241 2087
E-mail: stompdriftdam@telkomsa.net 
Website: www.stompdriftdam.co.za 

Donkey Car Rides Available for site seeing, weddings and parties.
Tel:  +27 44 241 2231 or +27 44 241 22358 

Liquorice Factory The only one in South-Africa is situated in Dysselsdorp near De Rust.
Tel:  +27 44 251 6050 or  +27 83 922 2474

Sleeping in an ox wagon The sleeping facilities at Die Gat guest house will take you back to the days of the Voortrekkers. 
Tel:  +27 44 241 2406
E-mail: bookings@diegat.co.za 
Website: www.diegat.co.za 

Via Dolorosa On Kruisberg at Dysselsdorp a small, white church stands out and can be reached by a winding footpath, called the Via Dolorosa. This a popular gathering place for Christians all over South-Africa on Good Friday each year.

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