Beaufort West lies in the heart of the Great Karoo, in the centre of the world's largest plateau of its kind outside Asia. This ancient area, where the history of the earth's development over the last 280-million years is clearly captured in rocks, is considered a wonder of the scientific world and one of the world's richest stone-age sites.

Beaufort West offers the ideal base to overnight and explore this arid zone. Beaufort West can be reached by crossing the breathtaking Swartberg Pass which today is National Monument, or alternatively through the spectacular Meiringspoort or the Seven Weeks Passes.

The N1 between Beaufort West and Cape Town will allow tourists to experience the expanse of the Karoo.

Famous heart surgeon Professor Chris Barnard is honored in three historic buildings, all national monuments, which makes up Beaufort West's museums.

Here visitors can see his humble boyhood home, the church in which his father preached and the organ on which his mother played. All gifts, awards and presentation made to Chris Barnard are on display in the old town hall, which was built shortly after Beaufort West was proclaimed South Africa's first municipality in 1837. It too is now part of the museum.

Just south of the town is the 44 792 Ha Karoo National Park, proclaimed in 1979 to protect the ecological areas, the plains, the middle plateau and the upper plateau. The park has a breeding programme for two of South Africa's most highly endangered species - the riverine rabbit and the black rhino. It has more tortoises than any other conservation area in the world, and a wide variety of birds and plains game.

The park has a fossil trail, a bossie route, a day walk and three-day hike, two interesting drives and an excellent education centre explaining the theory of Gondwanaland.

Beaufort West offers various interesting and good accommodation places to stay - from guest houses and b&b's to guest farms and game lodges where you can experience the great outdoors.
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