ghost stories in the Cape Karoo

Cards that shuffle and stairs that squeak, an unmarked grave on a mountain and toll-keeper who demands his toll, these are the ghosts of the Cape Karoo.

discover the spooky stories that are passed down from generation to generation

Cards that shuffle and stairs that squeak, an unmarked grave on a mountain and toll-keeper who demands his toll, these are the ghosts of the Cape Karoo. The Lord Milner Hotel in the picturesque Matjiesfontein is one of the most haunted hotels in SA. Kate was a young nurse who liked to play cards with her patients (either when the hotel was a British officer’s hospital or later when it became a popular health resort). You can still hear the cards being shuffled and she’s known to rattle the door at the top of the stairs. 

The Karoo National Park is a beautiful place that is prone to some eerie weather conditions. The mountains often get covered in a thick mist that locals attribute to the Waterspook (water ghost) - a cunning spirit that hides the mountain in thin cloud so that it can move around undetected. Prone to mood swings, this ghost sometimes entices livestock into its midst and leads them to their drowning death in a deep pool. To add to the atmosphere, a few lonely, unmarked graves also lie in this area, poking through the swirling mist, many locals are too afraid to even walk past in case they never emerge on the other side. 

Seweweekspoort is one of South Africa's most spectacular mountain valleys, better known as Smuggler's Route. It was once the main route for brandy smugglers, runaways, slaves and outlaws. The ruins of the old toll-house can still be seen at the northern entrance to the Poort... along with the ghost of the first toll-keeper! Some say he flags down motorists to take their toll, but vanishes the moment their car comes to a stop. No one knows why the toll-keeper has never left his post, but one thing is certain, it is best to always carry some cash on you! 

The ruins of the old toll-house can still be seen at the northern entrance to the Poort... along with the ghost of the first toll-keeper! 

Discoverer tip: If you stay over in Matjiesfontein, visit the old cricket field where a few spooky sportsmen still play at night.