Road tripping in the Karoo

June 29, 2023
Karoo Roadtripping

Everyone has to put a leisurely road trip across the Karoo on their list of things to do at least once.

Cloudy sky, scenic vistas, and long, winding drives.

The Karoo is South Africa’s mystical desert, comparable to places like New Mexico, Australia, and Mongolia.

The Karoo (a Bushman name meaning “dry place”) is a massive, ancient seafloor that runs through the country’s middle and is larger than Germany. More than a hundred towns, villages, townships, and railway sidings have popped up in the area during the previous two centuries, although the population has never exceeded one million.

South Africa’s soul spaces are its vast plains, which are flanked by distant flat-topped hills and mountains. Novelists, outsider artists, musicians, eccentrics, town champions, beer brewers, chefs, sculptors, internet geniuses, funky hoteliers, and a new breed of vibrant young farmers have all made these places their permanent home.

These days, the Tankwa desert is alive with the rhythm of the AfrikaBurn Festival as revellers set the night ablaze with fire, loud music, and an abundance of artistic fervour.

Set aside as much time as possible, fill up the gas tank and start off on a dead-straight tarmac that might turn into a dirt road, complete with wine, meat on the coals and a sky full of stars when you’re ready to explore this area. It’s also the cheapest way to get to South Africa.

I’ve done this trip several times, and it never gets old.

Check out the rest of my photographs!

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