Wednesday, August 11, 2010


(Murderers' Karoo)

With a name like that we just had to go and see what it was like. If you've got an adventurer's heart you gravitate to places like these like moths to a flame.

Dana Snyman, a famous Afrikaans journalist, once wrote in the WEG magazine that the Moordenaarskaroo is like the G-spot - everybody's heard of it, but no-one knows exactly where it is.

Well, actually, those in the know do know. The Moordenaarskaroo sort of lies between Laingsburg, Sutherland and Merweville, but it does not include any of these towns. Merweville and Laingsburg are in the Koup while Sutherland is in the Roggeveld. So the Moordenaarskaroo is just this townless area, a mysterious space, almost like the Burmuda triangle.

There are several stories about where the Moordenaarskaroo got it's name. None can be verified. The most popular story tells that the vast plains and endless blue mountains once sheltered escaped slaves, runaway soldiers, smugglers and the banished.

From Laingsburg there is a dirt road North named Moordenaarskaroo, the road used during the lawbreakers' great escape to what was then known as the "Karoo badlands", a dry inner heart where murderers and robbers could find refuge. The word "Karoo" comes from the word Korusa, which in Khoisan means a dry and barren thirst land.

Ironically, the stretch of the national road between Laingsburg and Beaufort West is today known as the "death stretch" because of the high number of fatal road accidents.

But I am getting ahead of myself.

When a friend suggested that we visit the Moordenaarskaroo it did not take much convincing. The next thing we knew a group of eight people from different directions were heading to gather at Op-die-Plaas, a campsite just North of Seweweekspoort.

And so this Ride Report begins...


1 comment:

Charles said...

Looks amazing. We gonna try that one next!