About us

Right in the middle of the country in the beautiful Upper Karoo, is a village called Philipstown. The town is a 70 km ‘exploration’ off the great north highway, and it may seem indulgent taking a spontaneous left turn but in this part of Big Sky country, it’s all about seeing distance in a new light. At first, it may not seem like much. There are the usual churches, many for a town of its size but then this very fact says volumes about this small Karoo town; there is space and room for different thinking and individuality. Yes, of course there is a farmers’ co-op and an essential general dealer stocked with boots and tools and paraphernalia essential to townspeople who have neither the time nor inclination to get to a big city in a hurry. Off  the main street there is of course, a Chinese shop, adding texture to what was after all, a frontier town hundreds of years ago.  The houses, many built at the turn of the last century, are painted in the colours of desert blooms: terra-cotta, sage, ox blood and the dark apricot of dusk in midsummer. Philpstown is a microcosm of a world where different cultures live side by side and all the layers of society meet daily. It is a town where you greet people by name and perhaps even their dogs that ride high behind them in sturdy bakkies.

If you scratch deeper, you will find a vibrant core to this peaceful community. Events are taking place and things are being created. In 2013, we hosted the first ever Karoo Parliament, where people of different disciplines gathered to discuss the potential and challenges facing the Karoo as a whole: education, art, nature conservation, geology, development, farming, tourism. The Quilt Shed hosted a Quilt Festival and women from all over the country and Namibia came to discover more about the age old craft. The Quilt Shed in itself is a world of colour with fabric folded and stacked in walls of colour that seem to explode in front of your eyes in defiance of a natural Karoo palette.  Pure cottons of the finest weave from all over the world are available here and when you take a seat for tea, coffee or a light meal, you do so in the heart of this fascinating library of fabric.

Every year, we host the only Draadkar Grand Prix on planet Earth and the roaringly successful Bike Rally. And the rallies draw people who race in from scattered farms and nearby towns to join in the friendly but fierce competition of duelling Potjies and braais. And then there are the dances ... boots and high heels on boards made wonderfully slippery with a scattering of mieliemeal ...

The only fuel station in town boasts two major art projects done by the children of the town. High above the petrol bowsers, mosaic car doors form a colourful frieze and many a traveller has detoured off that arrow-straight N1 for a picture or two.

On many of the farms there are well preserved San rock engravings that tell a story of hunters of old and the animals that roamed the area. During winter, recreational hunting attracts visitors and is a source of income for some farmers.

We are proud to have a world class embryo and reproduction centrestation in the district, run by a veterinary specialist and his wife.

Yes, Philipstown is off the beaten track.  It lies on the quiet alternative route R48 and is exactly halfway between Pretoria and Cape Town. It is the middle of everywhere… but only one reason to take that left turn and a small leap of faith in the unknown.   

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