Colours and characters of the Karoo

12 Dec 2016

It gets under your skin and creeps into your heart. The Karoo is a magical place of open spaces and warm hospitality. Oudtshoorn, Beaufort West and Prince Albert are just some of the iconic Karoo must-see towns. There are so many interesting and soul-filling activities that we suggest you make the Karoo your next breakaway destination. A place of immense space, wide-angled horizons, rugged mountain ranges and a sky so big that at night it feels like you could reach for the stars.

Read further if you want to know why Prince Albert is the place to be if you love food and nature…

Prince Albert lies at the entrance of the 27km Swartberg Pass, one of the most spectacular mountain passes in the world. An untarred road winds to the summit 1583m above sea level, with breathtaking views at every turn. The Swartberg Pass is now part of a World Heritage Site.



The Karoo is filled with charming places to eat and drink, and Prince Albert is definitely the place to go if you are a foodie. A visit to Prince Albert is all about enjoying yourself, and there are enough restaurants that you can eat your way through a weekend without visiting the same place twice –although you may be tempted to!

Olives, soft Karoo lamb, fresh and naturally-dried fruit, ostrich and carefully-crafted handmade cheeses are the food staples found in Prince Albert. Great food and out-of-this-world hospitality can be found at The Olive Branch Restaurant, Dennehof’s Conservatory Restaurant as well as the renowned cooking school, African Relish. At African Relish, visitors can participate in hands-on interactive cooking experiences, while learning about South African food, culture and the beautiful Karoo.

Some of the restaurants only open on certain days of the week so make sure you check beforehand. To make things easy, visit the Prince Albert Tourism website where they have divided the restaurants into three categories with contact info and what’s on offer. Hungry for more, just click here



Prince Albert is full of quaint, quirky places and you could spend the entire weekend happily exploring. Make your trip through the Karoo a memorable one by visiting these places and people…

The night sky is something to behold, and stargazing is out of this world in this part of South Africa. So why not visit Astro Tours for an evening of stargazing. Did we mention the passes? These are all breathtakingly beautiful and all hold spectacular views over the Karoo. Leave the wet coastal belt and enter the arid Karoo via the Swartberg Pass. You can hike the pass, sleep on the mountain or do the route by 4×4. These activities are all on offer in this amazing part of South Africa.

Ailsa is a Story Weaver, a special tour guide in Prince Albert who, during a morning walk, will tell you stories about the history and characters of the Karoo. Or if you like things spooky, join her for a pre-dinner walk around the streets of Prince Albert while she tells you about the resident ghosts. No one makes Prince Albert seem more enchanted or quaint than Ailsa.

For a little Karoo culture and education visit the Fransie Pienaar Museum, the cultural and natural history museum with artifacts and antiques dating back to the founding years of this area. Contact: 023 541 1172

For an easy and educational way to see Prince Albert there is a Red Bus Tour. The knowledgeable guide gives a broad sweep of the town’s history and character during a relaxing drive. Contact: 023 541 1037. While touring the town, by foot or by bus, why not do a bit of shopping. In Prince Albert, as well as the whole Karoo, you will find unique gifts, accessories, tableware and beautiful ostrich products.


How about an olive route…?

The olive tree is surely the richest gift of Heaven. I can scarcely expect bread.

If you prefer shopping for delicious things, olives and olive products seem to be a Karoo favourite. In Prince Albert, you can visit delis, farms and restaurants for some olive indulgence. O for Olive Farm is 4km outside the town and here you can see the processing plant, taste the produce or enjoy a lunch on the stoep. Or take a drive to Gays’ Guernsey Dairy and Deli, a Prince Albert landmark, where you can taste fabulous cheese and even stock up on unpasteurised milk – these are small-town offerings at their best. Kredouw Estate also offers a relaxing visit with a farm shop where you can buy olive oil and other farm products.

O for Olive Farm /Contact: 023 541 1917

Gay’s Guernsey Dairy and Deli/ Contact: 023 541 1274

Kredouw Estate/ Contact: 023 541 1025



Prince Albert is full of beautiful accommodation; you are literally spoilt for choice, and its extensive website is a wonderful tool to search for affordable accommodation or accommodation which fits your needs. Swartberg Country Manor, Abrahamskraal and Karoo View Cottages are just a few welcoming places where you can stay. With attention to detail and Karoo charm, you may just want to stay forever.

Click here for more accommodation options.

There is just so much to do in this great town, so make sure you visit the website or why not just take our word for it and head out on an adventure with Prince Albert as your final stop.

Prince Albert Tourism

Address: 42 Church Street

Phone: +27 23 5411 366

Fax: +27 23 5411 788