South Africa’s answer to Australia’s outback, the Karoo is divided into the Klein Karoo and nearby Greater Karoo - and this is pretty much "sandy" centre of South Africa. Derived from the Khoikhoi word for desert, Karoo areas are characterised by extreme variations in temperature, low rainfall, cloudless skies and arid lands with an abundance of succulents. The Klein (or little) Karoo and the main town of Oudtshoorn are located in a long valley flanked by the picturesque Langeberg and Swartberg mountains.
Higher up, the Great Karoo lies to the north the Swartberg. The other sharp and definite boundary of the Great Karoo is formed by the most inland ranges of Cape Fold Mountains. The extent of the Karoo to the north is vague, fading gradually and almost imperceptibly into the increasingly arid Bushmanland towards the north-west. Herds of African elephant once dominated the landscape but, like the kudu and buffalo, were driven out by modern development. These days the world’s biggest bird rules the countryside, giving this area the title of ostrich capital of the world.