10 Ways to Love the South African Platteland


moving to the platteland
The Western Cape Karoo village of Klaarstroom.

There are all kinds of reasons why people love the platteland so much, to visit and to live in. Sometimes, a simple picture just sums it up. Why do we at Karoo Space enjoy the countryside? Here are ten answers for you..

moving to the platteland
Aloe ferox blooms on the Plains of Camdeboo in winter.
  1. The Winter Landscapes

When all is brown and snowy in the Karoo Heartland of the Eastern Cape right down to the Little Karoo, the Aloe ferox blooms are out like standing flames. This shot was taken on a drive through the Plains of Camdeboo, from Somerset East to Graaff-Reinet.

moving to the platteland
Sheep being moved between farmlands in the Fish River area.
  1. The Summer Sheepscapes

There are few more iconic platteland images than that of a herd of sheep being marshalled from field to field by a farm stockman, dressed in the regulation blue ‘Karoo Cowboy’ co-op coveralls.

moving to the platteland
Black wildebeest in the Mountain Zebra National Park outside Cradock.
  1. A National Park on your Doorstep

In our case, it’s the Mountain Zebra National Park outside Cradock. The black wildebeest in picture roam the Rooiplaat Plateau – and then plonk down and enjoy the sight of distant mountains.

moving to the platteland
Beer-drinking in Clarens – a popuplar weekend pastime.
  1. The Beer Tastes Better

One of the most enjoyable drink-ups we’ve had in years happened some time ago at the Clarens Brewery on a weekend when out-of-towners and locals mingled to sample the fine weather and the ales on offer.

moving to the platteland
The backyard idyll of Pagel House Guest House in Aberdeen.
  1. Small Town Backyard Oasis

An afternoon spent on the back stoep of Pagel House guest accommodations in Aberdeen, Eastern Cape, talking with owner Lyn Dugmore who features in our latest book, Moving to the Platteland – Life in Small Town South Africa.

moving to the platteland
Saturday night rockin’ at Die Ramstal pub, Nieu-Bethesda.
  1. Platteland Rock Spots

Long-time regulars to the platteland eventually settle on their favourite haunts, and Die Ramstal pub in Nieu-Bethesda is one of them. Just behind the Karoo Lamb restaurant, Die Ramstal sometimes hosts visiting musicians and the room turns agreeably rowdy.

moving to the platteland
The annual Draadkarretjie Derby in Philipstown, Northern Cape.
  1. The Country Festivals

Platteland parties are particularly hectic in the early summer, when everyone celebrates the end of the long winter and has a sociable breather before getting down to the business of earning a country living. The Draadkarretjie Festival signs off with a series of hotly contested races in Philipstown, Northern Cape.

moving to the platteland
Coffee and carrot cake hotspot – Sophie’s Choice in Willowmore.
  1. Coffee Safaris

It’s essential that when you travel the platteland, you know where the best carrot cake and coffee can be sourced after a long slog on the road. In this case, it’s the classic Sophie’s Choice in Willowmore, Eastern Cape.

moving to the platteland
The Red Stone Hills outside Calitzdorp in the Little Karoo.
  1. Hidden Valleys

Sometimes you just want to take a byway and wander through some natural eye candy. If that’s your thing, then try the route around the Red Stone Hills outside Calitzdorp off Route 62.

moving to the platteland
Sometimes there’s nothing quite like a good old stoepsitting session in the country.


10. The Art of Country Stoepsitting

It’s a gentle art, to be sure. Involving some good wine, agreeable company, a chop on the braai, a dozing hound and a storm on the horizon.

Find out more in our latest book, Moving to the Platteland – Life in Small Town South Africa, available in Print HERE and Ebook HERE 


2 thoughts on “10 Ways to Love the South African Platteland

  1. Dirk van Rensburg says:

    My late wife (Phyllis) and I visited some of these places way back on honeymoon in the early sixties, like Willowmore, Klaarstroom,Vondeling etc. People with hospitality like you can’t believe. Then in more recent time my wife Rita and I visited places like Nieu-Bethesda. Next time I will make sure to visit the Ramstal Pub to have a beer………….These are only places you can dream of.

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