Little Karoo

Explore the country charm and diverse attractions of the Little Karoo with ostrich farms, limestone caves and country wine estates on offer.

Overview

The Little Karoo lies behind the coastal Garden Route and it’s altogether different. It is drier country than the Garden Route with majestic rugged mountains, country roads and lots of farmland. (Indeed it is often dry and sunny in the Little Karoo when the Garden Route is cloudy).

As its name suggests, the Little Karoo is the younger sister of the Great Karoo. It is a long and scenic valley that lies between the Swartberg and Langeberg mountain ranges. The Klein Karoo, (it's name in Afrikaans), supports the biggest variety of succulent plants in the world. This fascinating part of South Africa is where you’ll find the Cango Caves, a truly spectacular natural wonder.

You can sample the excellent wines of the Little Karoo over lunch at a working ostrich farm or visit the Cango Caves, a labyrinthine complex of some of the largest limestone caverns in the world. The intrepid will be captivated by the wild beauty of the Swartberg Pass to Prince Albert and the mysterious hidden valley of Die Hel. Whilst children will adore seeing the big cats at the Cango Wildlife Ranch, learning about ostriches, and cringing at the crocodile and snake farm.

The Postbox in the cango caves

We recommend staying at least one night in the Little Karoo as it is quite a drive from Knysna, let alone Plettenberg Bay. We especially recommend the Little Karoo for families and people who enjoy being active and on the go…

Articles to Read

Things to do with Kids on the Garden Route (and Little Karoo)

Features

Why you may love it

  • Cango Caves – we recommend the 1½ hour Adventure tour if you’re not claustrophobic.
  • Ostrich farm tours or Cango Wildlife Ranch visit.
  • Meerkat Magic – get very close to wild meerkats.
  • Swartberg Adventures offer quad biking, mountain biking, hiking and abseiling in the Little Karoo.
  • Swartberg Pass – one of the most stunning mountain passes in South Africa giving a glimpse into the Great Karoo from the top.
  • Prince Albert, a pretty little town filled with typical flat-topped Karoo houses, with many little craft shops and galleries to browse through, as well as coffee shops and restaurants for lunch.

Explore the Little Karoo map

When to visit Little Karoo

Mid-November to mid-March

Summer in Little Karoo

The Little Karoo has a hot, dry Mediterranean climate and so for sun-seekers aiming to escape the worst of the northern hemisphere winter, this is the perfect time to visit. Though part of the Garden Route, being inland, it has a quite different climate being much drier.
AVG RAINFALL 19mm
MAX TEMP 26 ℃ / 79 ℉
MIN TEMP 15.5 ℃ / 60 ℉

Mid-March to mid-May

Autumn in Little Karoo

I like this time of year in the Little Karoo. As it is cooler, it’s a great time to be active as the sun is not so scorching. Plus general sight-seeing is more pleasant. As it is so much drier than the Garden Route, you may fine that even if it’s rainy on the Garden Route, it could be sunny and fine in the Little Karoo.
AVG RAINFALL 12mm
MAX TEMP 22.5 ℃ / 73 ℉
MIN TEMP 11.5 ℃ / 53 ℉

Mid-May to August

Winter in Little Karoo

This is our “winter” and yes it can feel distinctly cold in the mornings and evenings (being further away from the temperate effect of the ocean). It is the time of greatest rain - but it doesn’t rain excessively. So typical daytime temperatures can be a pleasant 22-23C
AVG RAINFALL 16mm
MAX TEMP 20 ℃ / 68 ℉
MIN TEMP 8 ℃ / 46 ℉

September to mid-November

Spring in Little Karoo

The spring is one of our favourite times to visit, unless you are seeking heat in a big way! As elsewhere in the world, spring is variable. It could be sunny and warm. Or there could be late-season passing showers. By October onwards it tends to be warmer. As it is not scorchingly hot, it’s a great time for sight-seeing and being active such as hiking in the Swartberg mountains.
AVG RAINFALL 20mm
MAX TEMP 21.5 ℃ / 71 ℉
MIN TEMP 11 ℃ / 52 ℉

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