The Karoo Melts A Heart


Sunset over the Karoo National Park

The Karoo is often overlooked by travellers,  yet loved by those who know  it. So wrote a contributor to The Beaufort West Courier in November, 1901, when  the Anglo-Boer War was at its height.

“How often one hears the Karoo condemned as ‘desert’ and adjectived as ‘dreary’ or ‘desolate.’ It is not thus. Those who live in it know  its mysteries and charms.  They love to see how the sun delights to glance and shift about the slippery sides of Karoo hills, to light their subtle roundness, rosy knees and budded bosom-peaks.  ‘But what is this,’ asked Captain Shandy, ‘to war-worn, tired men, heartsick for a Devonshire lane, or the air of the Wolds?  To  these weary men the hills seem illimitable, inane.’  But a man who loves his Karoo knows it can boast a snow cap which Horace might have celebrated with Soracte.  Its sunsets are magnificent,  but in the midst of them one cannot help but think of  Phoebus’ steeds ‘hard by their chariots standing and waiting for the the dawn devine.’    Most magical,  perhaps even wondrous, are the nights, when ‘in Heaven the stars surround the moon like jewels.’  And, when all the winds are laid, when every height becomes a jutting peak, there is a light which floods the plains and makes every valley immeasurable.  Then, the shepherd gladdens in his heart.”


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