Little Karoo

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Little Karoo Travel Guide

The Little Karoo is the hot, dry region squeezed between the Outeniqua Mountains that separate it from the green and luscious Garden Route, and the rugged Swartberg Mountains that separate it from the wider, hotter Great Karoo.

The well marketed Route 62 extends further than the actual R62, including parts of the Breede River Valley. It's a lovely, quiet alternative to the rather more goal-oriented N2, passing through some interesting little towns and winds its way past loads of wineries and guest farms that specialise in rugged activities like 4x4 trails and quad bike trails. The major part of Route 62 runs straight through the Little Karoo towns of Ashton, Montagu, Barrydale, Ladismith, Calitzdorp, Oudtshoorn and De Rust.

It's a lot of fun to zig-zag backwards and forwards between the N2 and the R62 over some very scenic mountain passes, alternating between the lush green Garden Route and the drier, more austere Little Karoo. Most well known for its ostrich farms, which have developed into mega tourist traps, the Little Karoo supports a thriving agricultural industry. Olives, deciduous fruit and wine add to the rather heady mix that most local restaurants exploit gleefully.
Calitzdorp, which is most well known for its great port, holds a port festival every July, and there are fabulous wine farms along the whole length of the R62. Probably the most well known attraction in the region, though, is the enormous Cango Caves in Oudtshoorn. There are some great rock paintings in various parts of the Little Karoo.

The magnificent landscapes, locally known as red hills, offer some fun day walks, and the high mountains on either side of this long, thin valley, offer fantastic multi-day hikes. There are loads of really great cultural attractions, not least of which is the annual KKNK, the Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees (Little Karoo National Arts Festival) in Oudtshoorn. It's a party. Big time.

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