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 The Karoo Region of the Northern Cape, South Africa

The Karoo Region

The regions of the Northern Cape

      Acknowledgements: Northern Cape Tourism Authority (NCTA)

The Karoo region is known for its Marino sheep farming, varied succulents, wind pumps dotted on farms, little villages and individual Karoo architecture. It was in Hopetown that the first diamond was found and recorded.

Rock Art near Victoria West

San Rock Petroglyph near Victoria West, Karoo Region, Northern Cape Province

There are excellent examples of San rock art all over this region, mostly found on low lying slopes of dolerite rock and black boulder fields. Rock gongs are found in places such as Keurfontein and Thomas farm near Hopetown. These are large boulders that make musical sounds when hit. The town of Oranje, the self-proclaimed Afrikaner Volkstaat (Folk State) is located in the Karoo region.

Sometimes mistaken for an actual town, Three Sisters is actually a turn off point on the N1 highway towards Victoria West and Kimberley. Travelers can stop here to refuel and stretch their legs.

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Karoo Towns

 

Britstown

Located 98km (60 miles) north of Victoria West on the N12 highway, Britstown is named after Hans Brits who travelled with the missionary David Livingstone when he explored the area.

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Campbell

Campbell is found 48km (29 miles) east of Griquatown on the N8 highway and sits on the edge of the Ghaap Plateau.

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Carnarvon

The town is located 174km (107 miles) west of Britstown on Route 384. The area around Carnarvon is known for the corbelled houses that were built between 1811 and 1815. These are houses built by stacking flat rocks one atop the other and includes the roof and often having a dome shape. Rocks were used due to the lack of wood in the area.

Attractions:

Prickly Pears growing near Carnarvan

Prickly Pears growing near Carnarvon

Karoo Architecture, Carnarvon

Carnarvon, Karoo Region, Northern Cape Province

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Colesberg

Colesberg is the largest town in the Northern Cape, located on the N1 highway 280km (173 miles) south of Kimberley. The area also includes the town of Norvalspont. It is a Marino sheep and quality race horse breeding area. Colesberg serves as a good stop over for travelers from Cape Town.

Attractions:

De Aar

The town of De Aar lies on the N10 highway 50km (31 miles) east of Britstown. It is the third largest town in the Northern Cape. All of De Aar’s water is brought up from 68 surrounding bore holes supplied by underwater rivers or arteries -- the word ‘Aar’ translated to English means arteries.

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Douglas

The town is found south of Campbell near Prieska and was founded in 1848.

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Hanover

Hanover os located 74km (45 miles) southeast of Colesberg on the N1 highway.

Attractions:

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Hopetown

This area includes Belmont and Witput and lies 77km (47 miles) north of Britstown. Today it is a farming town with a history dating back to 1854. A few notable diamonds were found here such as the ‘Eureka’ diamond found in 1866 and the 83.5 carat ‘Star of Africa’, found in 1868.

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Prieska

The Prieska region includes the town of Copperton and is located 240km (144 miles) southwest of Kimberley on Route 357, on the southern bank of the Orange River at the foot of the Doringberg. It is known for its semi-precious stones.

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Noupoort

Noupoort is located 53km (32 miles) southeast of Colesberg just off the N1 highway.

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Orania

In 1970 a town was erected to house construction workers on the Orange River Project. Later the town became deserted until a handful of Afrikaners purchased it along with adjacent land and initiated an Afrikaner volkstaat.T the idea was to create an independent State for Afrikaners. Since its inception, the people of Orania have worked closely with pioneers in Israel and successfully implemented irrigation systems and built a community that thrives on agriculture, even exporting Pecan Nuts.

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Vanderkloof

The resort town of Vanderkloof lies 200km (124 miles) south of Kimberley on the banks of the Orange River. It was originally established to house the construction team that built the Vanderkloof Dam which has the highest dam wall in the country at 108m (354 feet).

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Victoria West

Located on the N12 highway 98km (60 miles) south of Britstown, Victoria West is the starting point for the Diamond Way on the road from Cape Town to Kimberley.

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Karoo Architecture, Victoria West

Avove and Below: Historic Architectural Style of Houses, Characteristic of the Karoo Region

Victoria West building

 

Karoo Road

A Karoo Landscape

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