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Many words describe Beaufort West; it’s the gateway to, or the capital of, and sometimes referred to as the jewel of, the Karoo. The Karoo is a great big semi-arid desert with huge clear skies and thousands of hardy succulents, some posing as stones to avoid detection. Beaufort West lies at the entrance to this unique ecosystem and travellers between Johannesburg and Cape Town pass through here or use the town as a brief rest stop. In their haste to reach their ultimate destination, they miss out on some of the most amazing landscapes and points of interest that Beaufort West has to offer.
Named after the Duke of Beaufort, Beaufort West was the first town in South Africa to become a municipality. Today, it’s a major distribution centre for wool and renowned for the premier horse stud farms bordering the town.
There is a mix of architectural styles in Beaufort West and noticeable in the town is the occasional donkey cart, the pear trees that line the streets and the welcoming residents, content to live a less-hurried life in the fresh clean air.
Top 6 reasons to visit Beaufort West
1. Collect a map from the tourism office and explore the town on foot. There are a number of Victorian, Cape Dutch and Georgian building styles on view and Beaufort West has a museum complex (closed over weekends) where a large section is devoted to Professor Chris Barnard and his lifework.
2. The Karoo is rich in fossils from the Age of Reptiles. Also in the area are several ancient San rock art sites, all of which can be seen on a guided hiking trip along various established routes. Get hiking trail details from the tourism office.
3. You are in horse country, travel to the Vale Karoo Farm for a 1 hour horseback ride through the bushveld. The proprietors... Show more