Into the Heart of the Bo-Karoo

The final Part of our #OpenAfrica road trip into the #KarooHighlands … This exploration covered the eastern section of the beautiful Bo-Karoo, and on the next trip we head into Tankwa and the Hantam, to spend some quality time in Nieuwoudtville, Loeriesfontein, Calvinia and Sutherland.

The locals say you cry twice in #VictoriaWest; once when you arrive, and then again when you have to leave. Ja-ja, I know this is a story told in many a town, but in the case of Vic-West, I like to believe that it’s true.

There is probably a hundred things I can tell you about this #KarooHighlands dorp that you did not know…

The Apollo Theatre rates as one of the most outstanding examples of an art deco venue in the country; the region constitutes the heart and soul of the #MerinoWool industry; petroglyphs (or San rock engravings, if you will) abound; tens of thousands of rock kestrels congregate here annually to hunt en masse upon the plains; Mannetjies Roux is one of the town’s most famous sons … I can go on ad infinitum  :-)

We stayed in #MerinoJunction, a funky revamp of what used to be the old Main Street watering hole. Natural fibres, rustic decor with an agricultural bent, sumptuous rooms and a #Kokkedoor chef has put it slap-bang on your must-do Foodie Destination List. And the people are proper arm-around-the-shoulder friendly.

Local knowledge is king when it comes to exploring the arid plains undulating at the foot of the Pramberge. What a pleasure it was to hook up with Andre Bester, who grew up in these parts and, even better, knows the area like the back of his hand.

Best part of the deal was a 2km swim in the town Dam, a dawn #mtb ride, and shooting the breeze over some beers and a few glasses of red wine. Andre also set up a hike into the koppies on Rietpoort, a farm belonging to an old school friend, Dirk.

The dolerite hills here brim with Stone Age petroglyphs, and an extremely rare phenomenon known as a ‘Bushman’s Piano’. The high metal content and unique structure of this specific rhyolite rock pile allows you to play five individually scaled and bell-clear musical notes. It is quite incredible, and I will post a video that Peter Kirk recorded soon.

As we wind down the final day of this amazing #OpenAfrica Shoot, I see the vastness of the #KarooHighlands plains receding in the rear view mirror. And I can totally understand the quiet renaissance sweeping through all these small towns we were so fortunate to visit.

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