The Karoo is an ancient land of ironstone rock and stunted scrub, baking in summer, freezing in winter, parched all year round. But it wasn’t always so. About 250 million years ago, the Karoo was buried beneath a vast inland sea. Since that time, the waters have receded and the earth has gone through many geological upheavals until today we find a world that is both arid and dramatic.
Flat-topped koppies tower over the endless plains, and if you look hard into the blue distance, you may just see the curvature of the earth. Small towns like Cradock, where The Housemaid’s Daughter is set, punctuate the dusty veld, along with vast sheep farms, and idly turning windmills.
Despite its apparent starkness, people have always been drawn to the Karoo. Perhaps it is the wide open spaces, the unforgettable sunsets, or those views that go on forever? Or perhaps it is the fossils that litter its dry floor – proof that you aren’t really standing in searing heat amongst scrub and rock, but rather swimming in a vast, cool, blue ocean.