Cultural icon Coenie de Villiers once wrote a beautiful song, which accurately captures the charms of South Africa’s Karoo.
The song resonates very well with those who have been exposed to the Karoo, at some point in their lives. However, for those who possess limited knowledge about the Karoo, the song might not tug at the heart strings as much.
The same logic probably applies to the tourism potential of the region, which has not been fully exploited but indications are that is changing.
The Karoo is a central location, which is attached to four province – the Free States, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape and the Western Cape – and is serviced by five national roads.
So, to a large degree, it is quite impossible to avoid the Karoo if you are travelling from the country’s northern regions to the south and vice versa. However, not everybody uses those routes, and for a long time coastal options have often been more appealing for domestic tourists.
Purchasing property for tourist accommodation in the Karoo has often been associated with risk. Can a business really thrive in those areas?
Wayne Rubidge is the Area Principal for Pam Golding Properties in the Karoo and he believes there is strong evidence to suggest aspirant business people are more prepared to take that risk than ever before, adding that more South Africans are starting to see the value in starting businesses in the Karoo. People are seeing more investment opportunity in the Karoo.
Rubidge made particular reference to recent sales in the region, which include that of the prestigious Bergkant Lodge in Prince Albert, which fetched R11-million.
In addition, he identified what he felt were other great opportunities for investment in the town. They include a 4 star, seven- room complex with Karoo style cottage architecture which is priced at R9.3-million and a 2.4ha plot of land, for somebody seeking permanent relocation.