Admiring the success of the Garden Route's megalithic tourist marketing machine, much effort is being made at the moment to promote the R62 tourist route that runs through the Klein (meaning 'little', and pronounced 'klain' as in 'pain') Karoo. This is still, however, in its infancy, which is ideal as the real charm of this region lies in the fact that it remains, for the greater part, 'undiscovered', despite being so close to Cape Town.
On any journey through this part of the world there is therefore plenty of scope for the unexpected. For me the Klein Karoo was a mine of holiday gems worth digging for: guest houses set on sprawling, off-the-beaten-track fruit farms, restaurants tucked away in quiet little towns like Montagu or Barrydale and intriguing wildlife experiences, like my sunrise expedition with the Meerkat Man of Oudtshoorn. A meerkat researcher for 10 years, he took me out at dawn armed only with two plastic garden chairs, a large stick for warding off aggressive ostriches and an astounding self-taught repertoire of meerkat calls.
The pace of life here is relaxed, the travelling easy, the distances short and really it's a region to potter through. Wend your way towards or from Cape Town along undulating valley floors where twisting rivers feed fruit, wine and ostrich farms and springtime brings a sea of blossom.