If wide open spaces and deafening stillness appeal to you, if small Karoo towns make you happy, then Prince Albert – 390km from Cape Town – is your kind of town. But just because it’s peaceful, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing going on. Here are 15 things to do in Prince Albert, Karoo.
7. Visit Gay’s Dairy. You can taste before you buy; cheeses include gouda, cheddar and parmesan types as well as mozzarella and Karoo feta. Their fruit yoghurt is also delicious.
9. Visit the Weltevrede Fig Farm 25km outside Prince Albert. It’s a huge operation with more than 1000 fig trees. Fig season (January to May) is the best time to visit but you need to book ahead. They grow mainly the big purple Adam figs, but also Cape Brown figs and sell them fresh, dry and bottled.
10. Stay a night or three at one of around 50 guesthouses and B&Bs that provide Prince Albert accommodation and soak up the laid-back mood. We stayed two nights at Dorpsplaas Cottage and loved it. We have also enjoyed staying at the Swartberg Hotel, which is a National Monument with a delightful old-world elegance.
12. Drive the Swartberg Pass built by Thomas Bain in the 1880s and still a marvel of engineering. The gravel road climbs in a series of steep zigzags and sudden sharp bends to 1585m, giving sweeping views out over the Karoo. Stop at some of the viewing spots to really appreciate the journey. For more information, see Drive the Swartberg Pass in the Karoo.
There are a number of hiking trails in the Swartberg Nature Reserve, from one day to three days, and an overnight 4x4 route. You can also mountain bike in the reserve at certain times of year. Tel 021-4830190 or visit the CapeNature website for more information. Alternatively, talk to Dennehof Tours. Lindsay Steyn knows the area well and will take you hiking or cycling without your having to worry about getting lost.
14. Stay over at Gamkaskloof (The Hell) to get a taste of what the kloof must have been like before the road was built in 1962,when the farming community here was isolated. Book ahead with CapeNature to stay in one of the renovated old cottages, or to camp. Note that you shouldn’t even attempt this route without a 4x4 and a strong head for heights on narrow roads. Allow enough time: the 38km winding road to the valley floor will take you two hours.
Obviously, this isn’t a complete list of all the things to do in Prince Albert, but it should give you a few ideas to inspire you on your next visit.
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