Calitzdorp is the fruit-bowl of the Little Karoo and source of the country's finest port wines. Nowhere is the authentic character of a Little Karoo community and the unique architecture of the region better preserved than here.
Calitzdorp, is surrounded by three mountain ranges - the Swartberg to the north, the leopard-haunted Rooiberge to the south and the mountains of the Huisrivierpass to the west. Although less arid than the Great Karoo, the land is no less challenging - with flash floods, droughts and winters that can clad the mountain slopes with snow.
In the nearby Gamkaberg Nature Reserve there are Cape Mountain Zebra (an endangered species with fewer than 800 zebra in existence), baboons and various species of antelope and raptor.
The largest concentration in the southern hemisphere of the Pale Chanting Gosh Hawk is found here as well as more than 160 other bird species.
The architecture of Calitzdorp is a cultural treasure, and includes English-influenced Karoo styles with a mix of Regency, Edwardian and Victorian features, many constructed around the neo-Byzantine Dutch Reformed Church.
The variety of architecture in Calitzdorp is well-known to architects and social historians and includes many historic old farm buildings in the district.
For the exploration minded visitor Calitzdorp is an ideal base - situated on the popular Route 62
Just over the Swartberg Mountains - via the Swartbergpass, stretches the vastness of the Great Karoo only an hour and 20 minutes drive to the South lies Indian Ocean and one of the worlds fascinating coast lines. And it is also within easy motoring distance of the sub tropical forest of Knysna.
Besides the Swartberg and the Rooibergpass, at least five other passes link the Little Karoo to other areas. The Little Karoo itself is a valley some hundred and sixty km long with Calitzdorp at its western extreme.
Calitzdorp has a typically Karoo-type climate. It falls within the winter rainfall area, but locals will tell you " It rains when it wants to". It doesn't want to very often. Average rainfall about 120mm per year.
The winters are bracing and cool but no enough so prevent some tourists from walking round in open-necked shirts. Summer temperatures can reach over 40degrees but are relieved by a daily breeze of ocean air drawn up the river valleys.
Calitzdorp hosts the oldest estates and cellars build in the Klein Karoo Region. It is also the home of World known Quality Ports.
The port-wines produced in Calitzdorp are excellent because port-grape varieties prefer a hot, dry, climate such as that of Calitzdorp. A number of similarities between the climate of Calitzdorp and the world-renowned Douro Valley in Portugal exist.
Calitzdorp has a special charm that will ensure your first visit isn't your last.