Book Review: Hidden Karoo

I love a gorgeous coffee table book and probably have far too many…. but who can resist a beautiful book? Not I!

A stunning new one that I’ve been diving in to this week is the brand new offering from Penguin Random House in the “Hidden” series that highlights secret spaces around South Africa. This time the authors are exploring the vast wilderness of the HIDDEN KAROO.

Written by Patricia Kramer with photography by Alain Proust, one of South Africa’s leading photographers, this book captures the big sky country of the Karoo magnificently.

Over the past few years I’ve been fortunate enough to spend time on the vast open plains of this region and explored many of the country corners that this book reveals.

It was a pure joy to dive into the pages and revisit the towns we’ve spent time enjoying – Prince Albert, Graaff Reinet, Matjiesfontein, Oudtshoorn, Nieu Bethesda – and it was equally exciting to learn more about it’s “hidden” gems.

The book unveils the forgotten history of the region diving deeply into its’ rich past with fascinating stories of farms and families that will keep you enthralled.

The photographs transport you directly to the place where dreams are born, legends are made, and outcasts find sanctuary. Through a series of superb photo-essays, this majestic place is revealed as a land where conservation and neglect are seldom far apart, where one town boasts splendidly restored buildings, while along a dusty road lie forgotten villages waiting for… something.

The Karoo is a land of flat-topped mountains, conical hills, secluded valleys, a land of scrubby bushes and hardy trees, where pioneers carved roads out of rock to set down roots in an unforgiving environment.

This is an ancient place filled with fascinating fossils, geology and artefacts. The human lineage of the area predates any written history.

HIDDEN KAROO reveals the layers of the region, offering a glimpse into towns and villages, farms and churches, public buildings and private homes, against a backdrop of awe-inspiring landscapes.

Capturing a moment in time this book bears witness to the past and offers hope that there may yet be a future for this unparalleled part of our country.

A worthwhile book for any South African home – especially those with a heritage in, or a hankering for, the Karoo. The pages will be sure to inspire some local travels – and hopefully lead you to discover your own hidden corners of this part of the country!


ISBN: 9781432310042

Format: Hardback

Recommended Price: R490.00

Published: March 2021


Kathryn Rossiter

Kathryn is a South African lifestyle blogger and mom of 2 who has been blogging daily for over 9 years! She writes about travel, health, beauty, fashion, decor and family... but not food (unless it's food she's eaten made by someone else) as she is a hopeless cook. She only wakes up early for 2 things... a red-eye flight to somewhere exotic and early morning game drives. She has just finished an extensive home renovation and would prefer to never see another box again. She's never met a chocolate or glass of bubbles that she didn't like!

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