The Western Cape’s mountainous interior adds yet another string to South Africa’s bow of extraordinary experiences.

Sweeping from the north of Cape Town and curving eastward underneath the southern limits of the Northern Cape, this arched expanse incorporates the Cederberg mountains, a good portion of the Karoo plateau spilling over into the Overburg interior. Each area boasts its varying topographical charms: from the bizarre sandstone rock formations, rugged fynbos peaks and valleys of the Cederberg to the untouched wilderness and open arid plains of the Karoo. One of its main arteries, Route 62, provides one of the country’s best road trips from Barrydale through the Little Karoo to the scenic mountain passes of Oudtshoorn, finishing to admire the pretty settler town of Prince Albert.

All in all this region, conveniently remote at a three to four-hour drive from Cape Town, possesses some the country’s best ‘wilderness retreats’, where visitors are not only drawn by the wildlife but the larger variety of active pursuits and interest-tailored activities on offer, compared let’s say to those available in the game reserves of the East and North-East.

Depending on your time and tastes, some of the reserves and lodgings in this area are well matched with the real safari experiences of the Kruger, Madikwe or Eastern Cape.

When to go

Spring and autumn are the best times to go, especially in September when the autumn rains bring to bloom the endemic wild flowers. Temperatures within the interior do get more extreme in the summer months.


What to do

  • Big Game safaris
  • San Rock Paintings
  • Palaeontology and Archaeology expeditions
  • Hiking