& Liz Davies
When: Any time
Length of tour: As long as you wish. A stay of about 4 days would probably be comfortable for many -- though some may want to extend their time to be more relaxed, hear the silence and see the stars.
Maximum numbers: Up to six
Languages: English and German
Fee charged: You have a choice of accommodation. You may camp and rough it for 8 USD per person per day, just bring your own equipment. If you don't have any, we can lend you a small tent. We also have 2 small self-catering cottages with fireplaces at 10 USD per night. (Remember, you can always arrange to have meals with us). Then there is the full-service guest cottage that sleeps 6, with all meals, drinks and hospitality included for 50 USD per person per day.
Statement for the Impaired:
The Idea: To set up home for a few days at a small farm, in a fabulously interesting part of the world, and to relate to two very environmentally conscious individuals eager to share their lives with you. The above photo shows our house nestling amongst koppies and sweet thorn trees (Acasia karoo).
The Farm: We are located in the Klein Karoo, where we farm on a small scale in the centre of a nature area, using underground water to experiment with olives and jojoba, and a small number of indigenous sheep. Solar power provides for all our domestic electrical needs and email. A vegetable garden supplements the kitchen, and meat comes in the form of lamb (Karoo lamb is famous locally for its herby taste), and antelope venison. Other farmyard animals complete the larder: Goat's milk, eggs, pork. Above is shown a young ostrich.
What You Will See:
Life At the Farm:
Before you leave, make sure you ask us advice and tips for South Africa. Its a wonderful country.
HISTORY OF THE KAROO:
Early European travellers were horrified at the vast emptinesses, with lions, wind devils and wild hunters speaking in unintelligible clicks. And yet, from the 17th Century, Dutch settlers began to infultrate it, bringing hardy desert sheep. The uncompromising land moulded these people into the independent Boers, a people apart.
Today the Karoo is still largely undeveloped. 200 years of "civilisation" have done little to change it. Sheep and ostriches are the main product, although where water is available fruit is grown, and alfalfa enables cattle production.
Sheep farming however put an end to big game through hunting and the spread of fences, so lion, wildebeest, quagga (now extinct), black rhino, elephant, and hyaena, are gone. So are the hunters, the Bushmen.
But a great deal still exists, and with a trend emerging to recondition wilderness, and away from sheep growing, this formerly unknown region will be opened to visitors.
Our Klein Karoo is the southernmost part of the Karoo, and is slightly different. It is a transition zone for weather systems, plant kingdoms,and geological formations. Here, winter and summer rainfall areas meet. Fynbos vegetation in the south meets and blends with northern Karoid scrub, so we have plants that are dormant in summer, and others that are dormant in winter. And the Table Mountain Sandstone of the Cape Fold Mountain range mixes with the fossil-filled sediments of the Karoo proper - for the Karoo was once a sea.
ANIMALS AND BIRDS:
The Klein Karoo, because of its mountains, still has leopards. These are seldom seen, but lucky walkers will see their spoor in soft soil, or their droppings in the mountain gorges. Of course, the leopards will see the walkers! Other predators that are common include jackal, caracal, aard wolf, african wild cat and cape fox. Ant bears, or aardvark, are very common, as are 5 small species of antelope. Snakes and other reptiles abound in the summer months, while more than 120 species of birds have been recorded, including 4 species of eagles.Amphibians are limited in variety but are interesting in being able to withstand severe droughts.
Succulents include crassulas, euphorbias, lithops (stone plants) and aloes; these are able to flower in season regardless. Tree species include the ancient Boerboon, which is evergreen and immortal, living for thousands of years, and the ubiquitous Ghwarrie, which serves up edible berries and is also mysteriously evergreen in powder-dry soil. All varieties show an exceptional survivability, with seeds that live practically forever.
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