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Beaufort West

Beaufort West, the capital city of the Karoo, is situated on the N1 route half way between Cape Town and Bloemfontein and is a real oasis where the traveller can relax a while. 

The town was founded in 1818 and was named after the Duke of Beaufort. To avoid confusion with Port Beaufort and Fort Beaufort, the name was changed to Beaufort West. The municipality was the first to be proclaimed in South Africa during 1837.

This is the home town of  the world famous heart surgeon, Prof. Christiaan Barnard. He grew up in the parsonage which has now been restored and furnished as it was in the times of the Barnards. The residents of the town is obviously very proud of this son of them as the Town Hall house a display of various awards, honorary degrees, diplomas and gifts from around the world that were given to Prof. Barnard after he became famous for doing the first heart transplant in the world.

The Beaufort west museum can also be visited and there is a walking trail through the town which will last less than one hour to complete. Just the thing to help you to relax after your long drive from Gauteng.

Typical vegetation and view of the Karoo, with the hills of the Karoo National Park in the background.Just outside the town you will find the Karoo National Park. The Karoo is the largest eco-system in South Africa and where better to experience its splendour than in this beautiful nature reserve. All the plants and animals that occur here have adapted to the harsh conditions of the Karoo. 

The annual rainfall in the Karoo is only 260 mm. The plains are very hot in summer while the mountain areas are relatively cool throughout the year. It is not impossible to find the peaks of the Nuweveld mountains covered with snow during the winter months.The famous "Three Sisters", three geological examples of typical Karoo hills.

The gates to the park is open from 05:00 until 22:00. No late arrivals after 22:00 are permitted. The reception office is open from 07:30 until 20:00. 

There are two rest camps in the park. The main camp offers accommodation in six-bed Cape Dutch style guest houses, each with two bedrooms, en suits bathrooms and a fully equipped kitchen. Alternatively there are three bed Cape Dutch style bungalows, each with bathroom and kitchenette with basic equipment.

The Mountain View Rest Camp is a mountain retreat with huts which provide only the basic facilities and can accommodate a maximum of 25 persons. There is a communal ablution block.

Camping facilities are available, all equipped with 220v electricity and with a communal ablution block. A maximum of six persons are allowed per site.

Other facilities include a fully licensed a la carte restaurant, a shop where basic commodities and curios can be bought and two information centres.  There are also picnic facilities for day visitors as well as public telephone facilities.

Recreational activities include the following:

  • Game viewing in your own vehicle.

  • Night drives under guidance of trained parks board staff.

  • Karoo 4x4 trail. A maximum of 8 persons are allowed. This trail may be undertaken in either your own vehicle or in one of Nation Parks Board vehicles with a guide.

  • The Springbok Hiking Trail lasts for 3 days and 2 nights. A maximum of 12 persons are allowed.

  • 2 Nature trails are available. The one is 800m long while the other is 11 km.

  • The Karoo Fossil Braille Trail is 400 m long and is specially adapted for handicapped visitors. It shows the geology and palaeontology of the Great Karoo.

  • Swimming pool for resident guests only.

  • There is a bird watching hide at the dam near the Main Rest Camp.

The park also have conference facilities with full conference equipment and caterers.

Other accommodation facilities in Beaufort West include:

Christie'ns Guest House
Clyde House
Donkin House
Formule 1 Hotel
Juriesfontein Guest Farm
Karoo Lodge
Ko-Ka Tsara Bush Camp  Tel: 023 416 1667 

Lemoenfontein Game Lodge
Lucern Lodge
Matoppo Inn
Oasis Hotel
Royal Hotel
Safari Rooms
Wagon Wheel Country Lodge
Young'ns Halfway House


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This page was last updated on 07 June 2009
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