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Traveling on the N1 through Victoria West will reveal three distinctive mountains that look like three oversized Zulu huts. The Three Sisters, which are among the landmarks of the Karoo, were created by erosion over millions of years. In her shadow is Travalia, a small farm shop. There you can buy homemade products at the gas station a rest with tea, coffee, cake and homemade food.
The Karoo is a semi-desert that covers about one third of the total area of South Africa. One differentiates the small Karoo north of the Garden Route and the large Karoo, which goes into the Kalahari and Namibian deserts. On the mountain slopes of the south coast, the clouds are raining, so that the annual precipitation sinks rapidly inland. Although the Karoo, with its boundless expanse, silence and emptiness, initially looks uncanny, life here finds itself in many forms. Snakes, turtles and various small animals, which have adapted to the harsh living conditions, here their austere existence. Before the land was fenced and used for ostrich and sheep breeding, there were large herds of game that can now only be found in the national parks of the Karoo.
The Karoo National Park is located near the N1 motorway between Cape Town and the hinterland, about 1000 km south of Johannesburg and 500 km north of Cape Town. Due to the sparse vegetation, game viewing in the Karoo National Park is easily possible. The best view is reached on the 13 km long “Lammertjiesleegte” route in the plain.
Large herbivores such as Red Hartebeest, Blue Wildebeest, Eland, the two Zebra species, Kudu and Springbok are regularly seen. Klipspringer are regularly seen on the passport of the same name. Other species are less obvious due to their smaller size, nocturnal habits or restrictions in the wilderness areas of the park. The park has a very rich reptile fauna. Of particular importance are the 5 turtle species. There is also a turtle, an agama, 2 chameleons, a monitor, 18 snakes and several geckos, skinks and lizards.
The name Klein Karoo (“Little Karoo” in Afrikaans) comes from the fact that it is the smaller of his contemporaries, the Great Karoo. The Klein Karoo is a long valley flanked on one side by the magnificent Swartberg and on the other side by the impressive Langeberg and Outeniqua mountain ranges.
His beauty is a bit unconventional, but no less stunning and impressive. It is a fairly dry area, dotted with fleshy succulents and dwarf baobab trees. From time to time a lonely little tree gently sways in the dry breeze.
The dry, harsh conditions of the Klein Karoo are actually ideal for the production of excellent wines. The summers are very hot and dry, while the winters can reach great depths. The selection of wines is extremely varied due to this unique climate and includes many wonderful dessert and liqueur wines. Add pot still spirits to this mix for even more variety; just right for the discerning palate.
The Karoo is a semi-desert and home to a variety of interesting plants and life forms that had to adapt to the extreme living conditions. The wildlife in the Karoo National Park has to offer a variety of roe deer, stone and mountain songbirds. These live here in large herds and remind of the huge, kilometer-long herds, which once crossed the Karoo during the annual hikes. And kudus, jackals and wolves are also home here. Shore rabbits, the Cape mountain zebra and the black rhino are considered endangered species.
The birdlife in the Karoo National Park can also be seen; Nearly 200 different species are there. With approximately 20 breeding pairs, the Karoo National Park is one of the areas of Africa with the highest number of this species. Other species that can be found in the Karoo National Park include zebras, Klipspringer and the largest turtle that can be found in southern Africa, the Leopard Turtle.
To explore the flora in the Karoo National Park you should do some short hikes. The two hiking trails Bossie Trail and Fossil Trail invite you to do so and tell the interested visitor a lot about the millions of years old geological history, which has a unique plant world. For handicapped visitors, the Fossil Trail was made accessible to wheelchair users as well as Braille signs.