Tourism is noted by government as one of the major industries with the potential to drive down the immensely high rates of unemployment in the country – if harnessed to its full potential. The Garden Route and Klein Karoo have in many ways embraced this notion.
Some 10 million passengers passed through Cape Town International Airport in 2016, which accounts for a 36% year-on-year (y/y) increase in international arrivals at the airport in April 2016 when compared to the year prior. The question to ask is where these tourists spent their money, and on what exactly?
For decades, the semi-desert, Karoo region of South Africa was for many cross-country travellers a massive patch of nothingness you had to drive through to get from Johannesburg to Cape Town and back again. But times have changed. Visitors are beginning to explore the Karoo with new eyes and are discovering what we locals have known for a long time: South Africa’s heartland is where the fun begins.
There are dozens of ways to enjoy the Karoo, but these are our top 5.
Snow and romance
When snow falls in the Karoo it’s like Christmas… Read More
SA’s spicy rainbow cuisine is lighting up the international restaurant scene. Johannesburg-based Nando’s led the way in 1992 and its flame-grilled chicken is now eaten in over 1 000 Nando’s outlets in 30 countries. On a smaller international scale are barbecue chains Spurs, Steers and the Meat Co.
But expat owner-chefs around the world are giving diners more than just flame-grilled burgers and ribs. “South African cuisine isn’t only about food,” writes Kobus Botha in an email from Paris, where he’s been running his restaurant, My Food, for eight years. “The French like our whole concept – the… Read More
With Heritage Day (and National Braai Day) just around the corner on 24 September, braai enthusiasts are in for a treat this month with the return of one of South Africa’s most loved food-reality TV shows: the Ultimate Braai Master. Now in its fourth season, the show takes contestants to beautiful locations where they then set up camp, are given a couple of gruelling tasks where they have to produce flavourful dishes against nature’s elements – and each other. The result is often spectacular, entertaining and filled with a good… Read More
Arrival of Rovos Rail in Matjiesfontein. Image by Jim Freeman.
The arrival of Rovos Rail’s Pride of Africa in Matjiesfontein is, in the words of one of my colleagues, “spectacularly underwhelming”. I’ve been sitting next to the tracks for the better part of two hours, with the temperature barely reaching 5ºC, determined not to miss its appearance in the glittering golden sunlight; smoke billowing as it thunders through the Karoo veld.
Of course, the engine is diesel-electric, so it… Read More
Ganora Guest Farm – a top Karoo farmstay. Image by Chris Marais/Karoo Space
Deep in the Sneeuberg mountains, less than 10km from the village of Nieu-Bethesda, is a classic Karoo farmstay called Ganora.
“Give us one day and we will give you 250-million years” is their slogan, and owners JP and Hester Steynberg really mean it. Ganora lies in the middle of pre-dinosaur fossil country. The Wilge River flows through the farm, and it is on the flanks of this river… Read More