Great Karoo South Africa

One third of the whole of South Africa is composed of the Karoo - the Bushman's dry and dusty plain. The Little Karoo runs along a narrow valley between the Outeniqua and Swartberg Mountains. The Great Karoo - home to the charming town of Prince Albert - lies to the north of the Swartberg, a vast region of of  far-flung towns and sunlit spaces, laying claim to the world's largest unbroken fossil record and treasure trove of minerals.
The interior is mainly semi-arid or arid in nature, with scrubby plant life adapted to over-doses of sunshine and not enough rain. Yet it supports millions of sheep, ostriches and goats, yielding the best in mutton, wool and feathers. 



Established in 1762 by Zacharias de Beer on the farm, Queekvalleij, Prince Albert was a small, industrious farming community by 1844 as the fertile valley attracted many farmers. 


In 1845 it was suggested the village be called, Albertsberg, after  Queen Victoria's consort, His Royal Highness, Prince Albert. In July that year, the approval was granted and the village became known as, Prince Albert. 

During the late 1850's and 60's, a lot of building and construction began, and this was when Carel Lotz created is beautiful Prince Albert Gables, which are now well-known tourist attractions of the town. In 1881, construction of the Swartberg Pass began, but never as earnestly as in 1883 when Thomas Baine took over the project. In 1886 the pass was open to the public, although the official opening was on the 10th January 1888, and it saw its first motor car crossing in 1904.

In 1891, a shepherd found a gold nugget, and the Prince Albert gold rush began. Although spirits soared and expectations rose, only 504 ounces of gold were found, and that was the end of that.

At the breakout of the Anglo-Boer War in 1899, a British Garrison was formed in the little village, and saw a few skirmishes between commando's and troops in the area.  The commandant, Gideon Scheepers, was taken captive and later executed in Graaff-Reinet.

A wide range of accommodation is available in Prince Albert to suite everyone's taste and pocket.



Saxe-Coburg Lodge< Click to View >
True Karoo hospitality awaits guests at Saxe-Coburg Lodge.A spacious Victorian home (circa 1865). One cottage & 4 en-suite bedrooms. Hearty Karoo breakfasts served. Swimming pool set in a spacious garden with mountain views. Richard and Regina are keen hikers and will guide you on request. German and French spoken Address: 60 Church Street, Prince Albert, Western Cape, South Africa. Tel: +27 (0) 23 5411267, Fax: +27 (0) 23 5411267

Fransie Pienaar Museum - Visit the museum to learn more about Prince Albert's history, the Anglo Boer War, the Gold Rush and much more.
Biljia Cana Wellness Retreat - Sit back and enjoy the relaxing treatments of aromatherapy, shiatsu, reflexology and many others.
Kredouw Karoo Cheese - Learn more about the delicate art of making traditional farm cheese on the Scheepersrus Farm.

Historical Walks - Join us on a guided walk through the town and see the various sites we have to offer.
Karoo Scooter Rental - Experience and enjoy the tranquility, space and beauty of the Karoo on a scooter.
Bicycle Hire - For leisure rides around the town.
Wolskuur Spinners - See how pure wool rugs are woven, products are also on sale at the weavery.
Tractor Rides to Olive farms - Take a fun ride on a tractor to the olive farms and watch how olive oil and other products are made.
Scenic Drives - Various routes are available, such as the Swartberg Pass, to Meiringspoort, along the Seekoeigat road, Boer War routes and many more for your enjoyment.



Western Cape MTN Tourism Personality 2000 <MORE

Another Tourism Service <MORE

Prince Albert's Landbouskou <MORE

Prince Albert personality wins Tourism Award

When you visit Prince Albert be sure to take a short drive (25km) along the tar road towards Prince Albert Road to a derelict farm with a colourful wall, bobbing sunflowers and a cart once pulled across the Karoo by the unique man who lives here - Outa Lappies, recycler and philosopher.

In September Outa was chosen as the

MTN Western Cape Tourism Personality for 2000

Outa's believes that you can make "something outa nothing". Dressed in colourful patchwork he might be found burning words of wisdom onto bamboo or sun-bleached wood with a hot poker or transforming bits of glass and old cans into "lighthouses". He recently created a carriage from tin, reflector glass and coffee can lids for the Queen Mother for her 100th birthday. If you have time to chat he will no doubt haul out his bag to show you newspaper and magazine cuttings and some of the numerous letters he has received from people all over the world who have become entranced with his own special outlook on life.

We are proud to announce another Tourist Service:

The National Garage Road Report


Colin Campbell of the National Garage situated at the north entrance to Prince Albert, has put up an information board on weather and road conditions in the Swartberg Pass and along the Gamkaskloof road. If the weather is changeable he gives Nature Conservation wardens, Zannie and Anita van der Walt a ring to get the latest information.

One of the staff at the National Garage, Eloise Herandien, was chosen as the Tourism Association's Friend of the Month for September for her charming service to customers. Congratulations, Eloise!

REMEMBER the Prince Albert "Landbouskou" - Agricultural Show

on 13 and 14 October 2000

All the fun of the fair: from wonderful handicrafts exhibitions and demonstrations to "SKAAPTEL" come and try to count a pen full of sheep, TUG-O'-WAR and COW-PAT CHUCKING! There's a Vintage Car parade, Equestrian events, a Cabaret, Disco and DELICIOUS FOOD including "BRAAIVLEIS, POEDINGS en PANNEKOEK."

Entrance: Adults R5.00, Children & pensioners R2.00, Cars R5.00