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If your idea of a hiking holiday is missioning up mountains on meagre rations and resting your weary limbs on a bunk bed, then the Karoo walking experience run by Wide Open Spaces is not for you. But if you are looking for that special combination of time outdoors, some cultural experiences and good food, then this is the trip for you. The promotional material is spot on, this is an opportunity to experience the Karoo, not try to conquer it, although you may leave a little piece of your heart behind. Friends thought we were crazy to go walking in the Karoo in the middle of summer (9 – 14 Feb) As luck would have it, the Karoo had never looked greener. Yes it was hot, but a cool swimming pool, and cold beverages await at the end of a walk. Guide and host Anthony is both discerning and accommodating, and will amend walks according to weather conditions and walkers’ fitness levels. We did all the activities listed, but if you didn’t feel like a museum or book shop visit in Nieu Bethesda you could visit a local establishment and chat to the locals instead. If I had to choose the best experience, it would be the sunset bush braai, where a table is laid in the middle of the veld, and you feast on lamb, braai broodjies and the most sublime melktert I have ever tasted. (Yes there is salad as well, and snacks). Stars and silence complete the picture. Give the Karoo a chance. You won’t regret it! Helen Nevin (Cape Town – February 2022)

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