Overlanding Africa travel blog

Little Karoo Landscape

A Resident

Cango Caves


It's Going to be a Tight Squeeze!

Look closely in the center of the photo. There's a woman making...

Just Like Santa


Traveling crosscountry by car gave me a chance to see the varying landscape of South Africa. Like America, all different types of ecosystems are represented. I started out in the tropical area around St Lucia, hit an Alpine-type region in Drakensberg, saw the sea coast and then even encountered a very arid region known as the Little Karoo.

The Little Karoo is the region around Oudtshoorn and is so named because it's similar to, but smaller in scope, than it's much larger cousin to the north---the Great Karoo. Both of these regions are similar to the dry open expanses found in Texas and the American Southwest. The Great Karoo is such a large region that the average ranch is over 50,000 acres in size!

The contrast between the coast and the Little Karoo is rather startling because you only drive about 60 miles over the Langberg and Outeniqua Mountains and you go from the lush green of the coast to the dryness depicted in my photos.

There are all sorts of ostrich farms in the area and it's quite interesting to see local women holding up ostrich eggs on the side of the road hoping you will stop to buy them. Apparently in the late 19th and early 20th centuries ostrich feathers sold for more than their weight in gold.

The reason I made the journey to Oudtshoorn is that I wanted to visit the Cango Caves and I'm glad I got the chance. The caves consist of a series of 16 different caverns and the tour through them is really interesting. Most of the formations are hundreds of thousands of years old and in many cases seem like man-made architecture.

I signed up for the "adventure" tour which means we got to crawl and climb our way through some unbelievably tight passages. The tightest spot to squeeze through was only 27 cm (10.6 inches) high.The disclaimer said that you have to be "lean, flexible and not claustrophobic" in order to participate. I guess I fit the bill because I made it!

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