Luxury accommodation, star gazing, hiking

The Great Karoo - by Maria and Richard

When our lovely cousin invited us for a visit to South Africa, we felt privileged and we were delighted. While we don't claim to be experts on South Africa and her many complexities; we know without a doubt that this country is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. South Africa is many varied regions, each with her own specificity, and the Karoo is an area that has impressed us immensely.

My cousin has a farm in the Great Karoo, called Vrisch Gewagt. At first glance, the Karoo is not a place that will stun by sheer beauty. It is, however, a place that will win your heart slowly and surely, if you let it. This is a land that must be relished at leisure; it must be savoured like a long sought after lover. When the magic of Vrisch Gewagt begins to operate, you will be awed by the immense silence resonating deep within you. Your soul speaks louder here than anywhere else in the world. The daily sounds of living are an intrusion; they reverberate and encroach on this hallowed stillness.

The Karoo's sublimely carved mountains are breathtaking. They are silent witnesses to the splendour and the drama of this land. Eventually, the mountains will draw your eyes magnetically towards the cerulean sky. At night, the majestic dome of the heavens is punctured by millions of glittering stars and a moon that you feel you can almost touch.

Vrisch Gewagt is foremost a working farm, and the people endeavour to produce a cost effective, good quality olive oil. This region is a semi-desert and so, what has been created on this land is amazing. The Karoo people are very hospitable and Vrisch Gewagt will welcome you and offer you all the comforts you need, in cozy white cottages. Although very contemporary, the cottages retain touches of the traditional, with the clever use of barn wood, with a smart mixture of modern and rustic furniture, with stoops framed by wooden branches and with fire places that would fit nicely in grandma's kitchen.

After a restful night in one of the cottages, you will be awoken by the merry chirping of never seen before, exotic birds. They dance and chase one another in the fruit trees that abound on the farm. The choir of birds will offer you notes of undiluted joy, the pure ode of the living, starkly contrasting the silence and stillness that pervades the land at night.

Walking throughout the farm is the very essence of simple pleasures. Beware of startling flocks of wild guinea fowls, who resenting your intrusion, will fly, in a huff, in all directions. You'll see tan coloured, elegant and agile spring bucks that make the farm their home. As you observe them, they will observe you too, but from afar. In fact, you may not be aware, but the whole land is watching you. After all, this is an unforgiving land, hungry for resources and only the smart and the strong survive here.

The vegetation seems sparse and boring at first, but here too, the veld yields itself carefully. The dry, seemingly lifeless soil is home to thousands species of succulents, many miniature plants and lovely flowers of varied brilliant hues. The veld, after a little rain, will suddenly burst with vivid colours, life and excitement.

If you are craving for a traditional holiday: do not come here. If you are craving for unhurried time, and for the ultimate luxury of listening to the heartbeat of the universe: this place is for you.

The Great Karoo is like no other place in the world. The people are resourceful, welcoming and fiercely independent. We've learned to love this country and we're deeply grateful to our cousin, who has introduced us to his hidden treasure, in the heart of the Karoo: Vrisch Gewagt.

Thank you,
Maria & Richard - Montreal, Canada.