SA Epic Tour: a karoo retreat fit for a sheikh

Minkie the tame Meerkat at Ko-Ka Tsara Bush camp

Our last stop on the Epic SA Tour was to Beaufort West, a town famous for one thing, the N1 from Cape Town to Johannesburg passes through it. Well, we found some seriously interesting accommodation just outside the town on the border of the Karoo National Park.

The accommodation is neither luxury nor flashy, don’t get me wrong it’s nothing to sneeze at, but it’s not 5 star with 20 staff members to each guest, a butler and Rolls Royce chauffeur. Something is amiss though and the first sign of it is on the Johannesburg side of Beaufort West on the N1 – a rather important-looking and oversized airport for this small town. It turns out that places like Ko-Ka Tsara Bush Camp, where we stayed, are often the playgrounds of sheiks, celebrities and royalty coming to get a few shots in during hunting season – they come to Beaufort to be a bit more real and natural, free of gold taps and airconned limousines.

This great little bush camp has only 7 A-frame chalets set in a well watered thicket of thorn-bushes, deep in a gorge alongside the impressive Malteno Pass. With no cell-phone reception and a long dirt drive from the gate, this is a spot to feel the grass under your feet, then put them up, sip on a drink of your choice and listen to the silence.

We were treated to a very good value-for-money meal in the boma where a large fire was lit which we huddled around, it was an impressive spread of real home-cooking. There was a freshly baked chicken pie with a rich, crispy crust, roast shoulder of lamb with milt jelly. Accompanying this were some traditional veggies, some sweet boere-butternut, cauliflower with cheese sauce and green beans and rice. The quality of the food was quite outstanding and was finished off with a delicious dessert of caramel sponge with ice cream. Again this was not gourmet, but some of the most outstanding food I have eaten in a very long time.

After dinner, the managers will take you out on a golf-cart game-spotting drive, it’s not far, just round to the lawns in front of the chalets, but there with the use of a spot-light a huge herd of Impala was revealed munching on the well-watered lawns. This big family are there every night and make sure the lawns are well trimmed and well fertilized.

One more thing I must mention, keep a look out for their tame meerkat, “Minkie” who, especially if you are a guy, will run up to you and sit on your lap and follow you around wherever you go. Just be careful only to touch her on her back and not the head, she hates the hairdo being messed up and defends it with some sharp teeth! If you can, definitely make your way round to this unique farm and it’s comfy, welcoming accommodations. Check out our Flickr pics.

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