There’s a long-held belief in the South African magazine industry that an issue will sell well if you put a Karoo windmill on your cover – the hallowed windpomp. As a country it seems we’ve always been drawn to the area, but now, after five months of lockdown, those open spaces, clear night skies and quirky farm stalls are more appealing than ever. It’s exactly what every city slicker has been missing – a place where you feel like you can really just breathe.
The Klein Karoo, a 300-km strip of semi-desert that trims the edge of the vast wilderness of the Great Karoo, is the perfect place to aim for. Route 62, its main artery, provides the inland link between Cape Town and Oudsthoorn. The road unspools across the heart of the Klein Karoo, rising and falling through hills and valleys, the land growing wilder with every passing kilometre. It travels through farming towns such as Calitzdorp, Ladismith, Zoar and the fruit growing and wine producing towns of Barrydale, Montagu, Robertson and Bonnievale. And, maybe most famously of all, it includes Ronnie’s Sex Shop, a pub and restaurant that has become a regular pit stop for bikers, tourists and local farmers.