5 Places to visit in Beaufort West

Posted on 4 April 2024 By Nelson Kalula

Right in the Western Cape of South Africa, Beaufort West is the biggest town across the dry Great Karoo and is often called the “Capital of the Karoo.” It’s part of the local municipality there, home to 34,085 people as of 2011. This place is well-known because it’s the oldest town in the Central Karoo, where people have lived for a really long time. Around the edges of town, some really old sites from the stone age have been found. This is where Bushmen used to live, and you can still see the art they made on rocks nearby. Beaufort West is tucked in a dip between two hills, with the Gamka River on one side and the Kuils River on the other, making it a spot rich in history and nature.

1. Karoo National Park

Karoo National Park

Photo by Juanita Swart on Unsplash

Just outside Beaufort West in South Africa’s Western Cape, you’ll find the Karoo National Park. This park, covering the Great Karoo’s semi-desert landscape over 750 square kilometers, includes parts of the Nuweveld stretch of the Great Escarpment. This means the park has areas both in the lower, flatter Karoo and in the higher, more rugged Upper Karoo.

For anyone planning a visit, the park offers a campsite, chalets, a restaurant, a shop, and spots perfect for a picnic. You can check out the park by yourself or go on a guided tour. There are a couple of main drives for seeing the game that you can do without needing a four-wheel drive, one taking you through the Lower Karoo plains and another that goes up and around the Upper Karoo plateau, showing off incredible views.

The park is a safe place for a bunch of animals like springbok, gemsbok, and even lions that were brought back recently. It’s also special because it has more types of tortoises than any other park and is a fantastic place for birdwatching, with lots of different birds of prey and other species. Plus, it’s doing its part to bring back animals that used to live in the Karoo long ago, like the Rau Quagga, a kind of zebra that looks like the extinct quagga.

Address: .Off 6970, N1, Beaufort West, 6970

Also Read: Luxury self-catering stays in the Karoo

2. Beaufort West Museum

Beaufort West Museum

Picture: Facebook / Beaufort West Museum

Back in 1939, the Beaufort West Museum started small, just two rooms open a couple of nights a week. By 1977, it got a boost from the government, growing to include some key buildings in town like the place where a famous heart doctor once lived, and the old town hall. It’s still there, in those same buildings, telling the town’s stories.

The museum’s spread out across three spots that are pretty old and important, right on the main street of Beaufort West. What makes it stand out is it’s got a whole section dedicated to Chris Barnard, the heart surgery pioneer, showing what his early life was like right there in town.

It’s open weekdays from 9 in the morning to 3 in the afternoon. It takes a break on Saturdays and public holidays, but you can set up a special tour if you’ve got a group.

It’s R 100 for grown-ups and R 55 for kids to get in and see everything, including that special exhibit about Chris Barnard.

Address: 89 Donkin St, Beaufort West, 6970

3. Olive Grove Guest Farm

Places to visit in Beaufort West - Olive Grove Guest Farm

Picture: Facebook / Olive Grove Guest Farm

A short ride from Beaufort West, Olive Grove Guest Farm is a peaceful spot in the wide Central Karoo. Here, among gentle hills with olive trees, old ways of raising sheep mix with wild land, giving a break from today’s rush. This big farm lets tired visitors find peace in country life, with views that look like paintings and air filled with the land’s kind welcome.

At Olive Grove, the outside world sets the day’s pace. The soft sound of birds in the morning calls you to walk the land, and the calm of the evening over the olive trees slows time down. This place is more than a spot to sleep; it’s where memories get woven into the ground itself.

Olive Grove Guest Farm welcomes those looking for rest, new sights, and a taste of farm life. It’s a place where the land’s tales are told by the wind, and every visit adds to your story. Step into Olive Grove Guest Farm, where the Karoo’s spirit grabs your heart, making you think of coming back even before you leave.

Address: Lombaardskraal Farm, N12, Beaufort West, 6970

4. Rooiheuwel Holiday Farm

Rooiheuwel Holiday Farm

Picture: Facebook / Rooiheuwel Eco-Tourism and Farm Holiday Resort Beaufort West

Rooiheuwel sits snugly under the Nuveld Mountains in the vast Karoo, a bit away from Beaufort West and Leeu Gamka. This place, with its mountain views, offers families a chance to take a break from everyday life in a peaceful and safe spot. It’s the perfect spot for a quiet weekend, where you can really see the beauty of the Karoo.

Besides the usual farm animals, there’s also a bunch of exotic birds to see. And yes, you can get that famous Karoo lamb and boerewors here, either to eat while you’re staying or to take back home with you, along with firewood for a braai. It’s a chance for kids to see what life on a farm is really like, minus all the gadgets and screens, giving everyone a bit of peace. Trust us, a trip to a Karoo farm is something no one forgets. It really touches your heart.

5. Beaufort West NGK Dutch Reformed Church

Beaufort West NGK Dutch Reformed Church

Picture: Facebook / Beaufort West

Back in 1820, on the 16th of May, the Beaufort West Reformed Church got its start, making it an old and important church in South Africa. It’s pretty high up there as the ninth oldest group in the Dutch Reformed Church for the Western and Southern Cape area and comes in twelfth when you look at the whole church. From this church, six more groups branched out over the years, spreading around places like Prince Albert, Victoria West, and a few more right in Beaufort West.

Around 1760, the first folks looking to farm moved into the Koup and Nuweveld areas, setting up the first farms in what’s now Beaufort West. One of the first spots, the Hooyvlakte in de Carro farm, ended up being where the town of Beaufort West would grow. Even with these new farms, not a lot of people lived around there for a long time. By the end of the 1700s, some of the farmers were doing pretty well with their livestock up past the Nuweveld Mountains, setting the stage for the Beaufort-Wes parish, town, and district we know today, and leading to the creation of new parishes from the original big one over time.

Address: 1 Church St, Beaufort West, 6970

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Also Read: 5 Places to visit in Edenvale

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