Ready to experience something different for a day? It is time to escape to the slow life of the Karoo!
Starting from George take the N12 towards Oudtshoorn. As you drive up the Outeniqua Pass enjoy the soft green folds of the mountains, because soon you will leave it behind you. Once you have reached the top of the pass and descend on the other side into the Waboomskraal valley the Klein Karoo slowly unfolds all its secrets. Take the Oudtshoorn turn-off as soon as you exit the Waboomskraal valley.
As you approach Oudtshoorn you will notice the blue haze of the Swartberg mountains on the horizon. In winter it will be dusted with some snow and in summer the fynbos will be in full bloom. There are several things to do in and around the town of Oudtshoorn, but we will be heading to Prince Albert via the Swartberg mountains. Take the R328 out of town and follow the road through Schoemanshoek to the Cango Caves and the mountains. The route via the Swartberg mountains is a gravel road, which can sometimes be very rough, but is always very spectacular.
We recommend that you plan your day to have lunch in Prince Albert and allow some time to visit some of the finest olive and fig farms, wineries and art galleries in the region. Remember that this is a small town and some of the establishments might not be open on a Sunday so plan accordingly but what we can vouch for is that African Relish surely serves the best pizza in Prince Albert!
A Saturday morning is a good time to visit as you will catch the local market and the Fransie Pienaar museum open where you will find an interesting pamphlet about all the different gable styles of Prince Albert. Take a walk or drive through town and identify them all.
To complete your circle route return via the tarred road (R407), passing Klaarstroom, back to George. Stop at the Klaarstroom Hotel to get something cold (or hot if you travel in winter) and most of the time you will meet some interesting people at the hotel.
This tar route is (R407) a bit longer than the Swartberg route, but it takes you through the impressive Meiringspoort which changes it face many times a day depending where the shadows fall. Allow some time to stop in the poort to admire the rock formations or take a walk to the waterfall and discover Herrie se klip.
Continue with the N12 past ostrich farms and feather palaces to Oudtshoorn and head back via the Outeniqua pass to George. It is worthwhile to travel the N12 between George and Oudtshoorn in both directions as you will notice some different scenery going each way.
Distance from George via Swartberg pass: 135 km (R328 – gravel)
Distance from George via Klaarstroom: 172 km (R407 – tar)