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Fernando Tolosana: Experience life in the Great Karoo Desert.

A while ago I met someone, who was interested in swapping my Cj6 Jeep for a SAAB 9000 CS (spy car). He worked for the Spanish embassy and told me how he was planning on shifting his operation into the Great Karoo desert (spy?). This intrigued me and I have kept in touch with him and have asked him to write a few words about his time in the Karoo, the bush-without-a-bush.


We quite often go to Frazerburg, near Sutherland (Karoo) which is Martian, but I believe where this gent is, is positively in the middle of nowhere. The nearest shop is 32km on a dirt road and he makes a living farming Nguni cattle, sheep and goats. He has also identified a number of properties that can be rented out, either for a weekends isolation or long term for that art colony hermit appeal.


The seclusion in the Karoo desert is complete, and the sky is so clear, it puts the cream back in the Milky Way. Scorching hot in summer and ice cold in the winter, it is not a place for the weak of spirit, which is perhaps why the lamb is so good here 🙂 Activities include (but not restricted to) Swimming, Bushman rock art, picnics by the dam, fishing, hunting, hiking, game spotting, 4×4 trails, star gazing and a week getting used to the deafening silence.

Below are Fernando’s words on his new life in the Karoo.


Karoo living:

I decided to come and live in the Karoo after many years in cyberspace!. The need for great outdoor spaces -whilst remaining linked to the world via the internet- became critical last year after reading a book called Plains of Camdeboo. I remember closing the book and reaching for the phone.

I hadn’t seen a friend of mine for 15 years but I knew he’d gone back to Karoo farming. I took leave from work and went to the vast emptiness. The moment I got there I knew my life had taken a sudden turn. It is now my 10th month, and the city feels as remote as those alien crowded towns one sees on TV. Every day I feel healthier and less hassled, fitter and readier to tackle manual tasks. My muscles are coming back in, and, if you are middle aged, nature does not remind you of it as much as the young in the city do…

I am now keen to share my experience with others. I have sourced empty farmhouses which I can offer on long lease. I am also renting a farmhouse my farmer friend owns. NO electricity, no cell cover, only windmill water! (R500 ($70)/house/weekend, sleeps 8 )
I spend my time, walking, swimming, looking after the animals, watching dstv, studying at Unisa to finish my BA next year and reading voraciously.

The area boasts some hunter guides who will take you to hunt springbok, zebra, etc at ridiculously low prices. You can pay them for making biltong and droewors. The region is also part of the Blue Crane route and is rich in Commando sites. The lake Gariep is 70km away. A group of farmers is keen to establish a 4×4 mountain top route, spanning their farms. Famous farms such as Hillmoor and Manor Holme, of historical merino importance might be visited with prior arrangements.

You can contact Fernando for information on bookings (spy workshops) etc at

+21 48 888 0016