The Little or Klein Karoo, which is a long valley bordered by the Swartberg and the Langeberg Mountains in the Western Cape, forms the southern sibling of the larger Karoo - the Great or Groot Karoo occupies the northern part thereof. This is the land of succulents - their thick, fleshy diversity unparalleled anywhere else in the world - peppered only by the odd bush and tree that gives the Karoo, at first glance, the appearance of arid, dry and very flat land devoid of living matter and given over to hot days and cold nights. Herds of buffalo, elephant and kudu once dominated these plains only to be hunted or driven out by modern development.
This bleak landscape is, on second glance, an area of towering cliffs, clear streams and a unique biome dominated by the aloe and dwarf baobab tree with its yellow peeling bark and midsummer red tubular flowers. Majestic mountains lend a blue haze to the distant horizon and spring flowers draw huge numbers of tourists from all over the world for a few weeks every year when sand becomes a tapestry of flowers.
This semi-arid climate with winter rainfall gives rise to various microclimates that allow Karoo winemakers to produce a wide variety of quality wines from vines grown typically along the fertile river banks. Herds of buffalo, elephant and kudu once dominated these plains only to be hunted or driven out by modern development. Today the mainly visible animal in the area is the ostrich, farmed for his meat, eggs and feathers, but stay awhile and you’ll hear the rustlings of the bat-eared fox, the suricate or meerkat and the common barking gecko.
Formed as a result of 20 million years of rainwater scouring and dissolving rock and limestone to form halls and passageways, the caves were declared a National Monument in 1938 and include the Wonder Cave that has some superb examples of drip stone formations and a resident bat population.
The Klein Karoo National Arts Festival at Oudtshoorn showcases South African art forms from serious drama to farce and includes music, fine arts, festive food, poetry, theatre for the little people and dancing. Some have described it as a ‘boere bazaar’ (farmers’ market) rather than an arts festival, but one is seriously spoiled for choice here when it comes to catching up on the local art scene.

Geolocation
21° 39' 3.6", -32° 33' 14.4"