Karoo Space Books

nieu bethesda
One of the famous residents of the Owl House & Camel Yard, Nieu-Bethesda.

South African independent authors and publishers Chris Marais and Julienne du Toit have produced three award-winning books on the Karoo region of their home country.

Their job is to criss-cross this vast, semi-desert region in search of the people, the history, the beasts and the landscapes that all make up the timeless narrative of the Karoo.

riel dance
The Riel Dance, as performed in the veld somewhere on a Northern Cape back road.

In Karoo Keepsakes and Karoo Keepsakes II you will meet some of Life’s loveliest characters, from bowler-hatted blokes to aged stockmen, angel crafters to desert divas, Nama Riel dancers to veld shamans, farm philosophers to world-class chefs.

They’ve all found their place in the Karoo, a land of big skies, bigger dreams and the biggest horizons in Africa.karoo books (1)

Then you get the meerkats, the springbok, the hedgehogs, the wildebeest, the gemsbok, the jackal, the lynx and the iconic donkeys of the Karoo. Each has a story, a legend, a myth to be told.

Chris and Julie, through extensive travels and research spanning more than 15 years, have gathered these stories into two illustrated books that have become bestsellers and been reprinted a number of times.karoo books (2)

A sampling of reviews on the Keepsakes Collection:

  • “The people of the Karoo are the salt of the earth and are beautifully portrayed and documented for us by the authors Chris Marais and Julienne du Toit.

The photography is wonderfully evocative of that part of the world.” – Janet Tanner-Tremaine

  • “The amount and quality of your photographs and your page-by-page evocative, sensitively written commentaries, have made these little hardbacks a wonderful read for me.” – Ronald Ingle
  • “The authors’ work is a never-ending quilt, stitched in place with sensitivity and delight, and one that invites us to revel in all the people and all the places of our country’s heart, and kick up our heels in its glorious, gritty dust.” – Julia Lloyd, SA Country Life
  • “A few months ago I had the opportunity to travel to South Africa, and found the most amazing book called Karoo Keepsakes. What a beautiful, brilliant book. Here in Holland I have re-read it many times. One just cannot put a book like this down, it just captures your heart!” – Carol Wolsink
  • “In Karoo Keepsakes and Karoo Keepsakes II you’ll meet musicians, sculptors, collectors, healers, rogues, quilters and karretjie people. You’ll learn to appreciate creatures like Karoo sheep, meerkats, tortoises, giant earthworms, ostriches (which they describe as ‘Karoo sock-puppets’) and donkeys that are part of the family. One chap loved his big-eared donkeys so much, they tell us, that he’d play the fiddle for them in the evenings.

“You’ll also delve into the charm of the land of flood and drought, wind pumps, leiwater furrows, quiver trees and prickly pears, of heritage roses, fossils, matjieshuise and the Nama Riel. And if you’re up for more fun, let the authors escort you to festivals like AfrikaBurn or the dusty madness of the Williston Winter Festival.” – Roxanne Reid.

farmstays karoo
A beautiful cottage retreat on an Eastern Cape Karoo farm – the Vleihuise on Doornberg.

A New Book

Joining the Keepsakes Collection is Road Tripper – Eastern Cape Karoo.

Also known as the Karoo Heartland or the Eastern Cape Midlands, this region embraces 14 towns and villages and some of the most magical geography found anywhere in South Africa.

In a new-age traveller’s companion, Chris and Julie take you on a long, looping trip around the Eastern Cape Karoo where you will meet the people who make this the most special road trip route in the country.

Road Tripper – Eastern Cape Karoo gives you insider information on the best stop-overs, farmstays and padstalle in the region. The book is, however, not meant to hang around on your coffee table – it has been designed as a “cubby hole” publication that accompanies you on your journey.

die tuishuise
The Antrobus clan at Die Tuishuise & Victoria Manor in Cradock: Cherie, Sandra and Lisa.

Some reviews of Road Tripper – Eastern Cape Karoo:

  • “To many, the Karoo is a place you pass through, quickly and preferably at night, en route to the coast. Guilty as charged, but not anymore.
    Karoo Keepsakes I and II by Chris Marais and Julienne du Toit played a big part in converting me into a Karoo-lover and the Karoo is both the journey and destination for me, these days.
    What I like about their books is that they’re written in an easy-going and fun, yet informative style. This new ebook is packed with gorgeous black-and-white photographs and has 286 pages.karoo books (7)
    Their other books I already have are in full-colour, but monochrome images are just as good, and I love these.
    The use of hyperlinks is a useful and time-saving feature of the ebook in that you can easily navigate the book from the table of contents. The book is peppered with links to the directory at the end of the book, and there you will get handy links to e-mail and web page addresses.
    You will find abundance in this new book, whether you’re looking for colourful characters, famous writers, flora and flora, artists, pubs, eateries and so much more.
    I am confident to say that Road Tripper Eastern Cape Karoo will add to the Karoo Space catalogue. The ebook gets two thumbs-up from me. I should get my print copy in the next day or two from Love Books in Joburg, which I can’t wait for and I intend to read it slowly to savour the experience.
    The e-book is R150 and the print version R240, which is dirt-cheap.” – Alex Hill
  • “So easy to read and brilliant photography about an area in the countryside that is hugely underrated. All the hyperlink click-throughs to the directory work. Highly recommendable read.” – Jacqui Taylor

All the books are available from this site.

Print Versions HERE

Ebook Versions HERE

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