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The Great Karoo is the vast central plateau of South Africa, a magical semi-desert land of sweeping skies and wide horizons where nature reigns majestic. The word Karoo comes from the an ancient San word meaning "Land of Great Thirst".
As an eco-tourism destination the Karoo is a land like no other, offering a diversity of scenery, fauna, flora, history and cultures. The Camdeboo National Park is surrounding the picturesque town of Graaff-Reinet and provides you an insight into this unique landscape.
Formed millions of years ago by the erosive and volcanic forces of nature, The Valley of Desolation is a national monument within the Karoo Nature Reserve high above the historic town of Graaff Reinet. Here sheer cliffs and percariously balanced columns of dolerite rise 120m from the valley floor.
The Mountain Zebra National Park provides a sanctuary for the rare Cape Mountain Zebra as well as herds of eland, springbok and kudu. The proclamation of the park in 1937 saved the zebras from extinction. Its 6 000 hectares boost scenery from grass covered plateaus to wooded ravines.
The Great Karoo is larger than Germany and its towns, from its smallest villages to the gracious town of Graaff-Reinet, are just as fascinating as the vast country surrounding them.
The vast open grasslands of the Gariep region is fed by the mighty Orange River. Here visitors can enjoy open, grassy plains with endless blue skies and star-studded nights. The Gariep Dam was built in 1972, 100km long and 374 square kilometres large and is the largest of its kind in South Africa. It is a paradise for water sports from angling, sailing and power boating to canoeing, water skiing and much more. The dam is part of the Orange River Project, the largest African irrigation project, which irrigates 22,400 hectares of land for agricultural use and provides drinking water for the cities of Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth.