Why I Love the Karoo!

I was fourteen going on fifteen years old when we moved to the Little Karoo – Oudtshoorn to be exact. 

My love affair with the Karoo was a gradual affair.  At first glance, the veldt looks khaki and boring, however, on closer inspection it is alive, colourful and beautiful, almost as if it is the keeper of secrets and one by one little bits are revealed.

It is where I meet with God and experience ancient wisdom, a deep sense of peace, with an upturned face to see the clouds dance by, I feel the warm dry Karoo air kissing my face gently, I am aware of the fact that I am in the presence of greatness and that I am a small insignificant part of an infinite, timeless beauty.

Close your eyes for a moment and imagine being in that vast open space, no high-rise buildings or overcrowded areas, just you, in the veldt surrounded by Karoo flora, in the distance the hazy view of mountains.

At first all there is silence

a stillness in the air, 

followed by a slight movement , a pause…… 

and then silence   

In the distance you hear a rumble, 

almost like a low growl,  

suddenly, the air changes, there is movement, a slight rush, just a breath, that seems to brush your skin. 

A heightened awareness, almost an excitement.  

And then it comes rushing

the rumble gets louder, more urgent,

Heart pounding at the excitement of the moment, there is an expectation and an  invitation to run outside, dance and shout in jubilation.  

I am alive; oh yes, I am alive!

Gail Charalambous

Snippets from a letter written by Olive Schreiner to Havelock Ellis early 1900’s

“Now I am going to put my hat on and go for a walk over the Karoo. Such a sense of wild exhilaration and freedom comes to me when I walk over the karoo.

There are one or two little koppies in it.  I am going to walk to one this morning.

It is curious and to me very attractive this mixture of civilization and the most wild untamed freedom; the barren mountains and the wild Karoo and the railway train.”

Photo: Bradley Millar

It is vast, beautiful, welcoming, sometimes hostile, kind, nurturing, loving, authentic and healing.  So many plants contain wonderful medicinal properties and can be used to bring an interesting taste sensation to local dishes.

Grab a bag, your binoculars,  head off to the Karoo

Visit the Valley of Desolation,  or be bold and daring drive the Swartberg Pass.

Go camping in Sewe Weke Poort, spend a night in Sutherland and view the heavens.

Take a leisurely drive through Meiringspoort, stop, look up, enjoy the splendour.

Photo: Gail Charalambous

“Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive him to be. And whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.” 

Photo: Gail Charalambous

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  • Salvelio Meyer

    No place on earth like the Karoo ❤️

  • Michelle

    I have recently visited Prince Albert and travelled through Meiringspoort Pass and over the Swarberg Mounts. They are awe-inspiring examples of God’s immense creativity and the beauty of nature. I fell in love.