When we talk of Beaufort West, it conjures up images of a long, straight and quite dangerous road which we dread using. It’s normally that part of a trip we all hate, the part between departure and destination. It’s hard to approach a trip through the Central Karoo as being the journey. Yet it is a fascinating place even from the vantage of your car.
The scenery is stark, yet beautiful. The flora is apparently dull, until it has rained, then the Karoo is bathed in lush green shrubs, coming alive from the nutrition. Beautiful daisies frame the N1 as they bloom after a hint of rain, distracting the traveller from a seemingly bland trip.
The N1 north is littered with many interesting and historical towns. If time allows, visit these and find out more about them.
South Africa's first mountain pass, the small but impressive Molteno Pass, can be found outside Beaufort West. The master mountain pass builder, Thomas Bain, built it.
It links Beaufort West, the oldest town in the area which was proclaimed in 1818, to Loxton and forms the lifeblood of travel between Beaufort West and Loxton, Carnarvon and others in the Northern Cape.
The Molteno Pass cannot be a destination. Take a trip to Beaufort West, stay over and visit this historical town, the birthplace of Chris Barnard, the World famous heart surgeon.
Then take a trip over the Molteno Pass to the Northern Cape, working down through Calvinia and then accessing the wonderful passes on the Westcoast.
Springbok are synonomous with the Central Karoo and you are bound to encounter them, perhaps from your car while driving, otherwise without doubt in the Karoo National Park There is a recollection of a Springbok crossing in the town, which is fascinating, certainly unfathomable in our time.
"Sir John Fraser, whose father was the Dutch Reformed Church minister at Beaufort West in 1849, left a memorable impression of the springbok invasion of the village in that year.
A smous(travelling salesman) drove into the village one day looking bewildered, and told the people that countless buck were on the way, leaving the veld bare. This report was not taken seriously. Soon afterwards the people of Beaufort West were awoken one morning by the trampling of all kinds of game. Springbok filled the streets and gardens, and they were accompanied by wildebeest, blesbok, quagga and eland. For three full days the trekbokke passed the village, and they left the veld looking as though it had been consumed by fire." (Lawrence Green's "Karoo")