Beaufort West is about 470 km from Cape Town on the N1 national road. It is one of the few towns that the N1 actually runs through, so it's not unusual to see huge trucks thundering down the main street. Beaufort west has an airport located about 10 km's out of town.
The annual rainfall in Beaufort West is more than 150mm, which gives it the name of the "Oasis town" of the Karoo. There is also an Oasis Hotel, situated on the Main Street. Beaufort West is located on the banks of the intermittently flowing Gamka River and at the foot of the Nuweveld Mountains.
Beaufort West was named after the father of the governor of the time, Lord Charles Somerset. His father was the Duke of Beaufort in England. Later Beaufort was changed to Beaufort West to avoid confusion between Fort Beaufort and Port Beaufort located in the eastern cape.
A visit to the Beaufort West Museum Complex in Donkin Street will not disappoint. The complex comprises of three buildings, the old Sendingpastorie, the Sendingkerk and the Stadtshuis.
The Stadtshuis was the first city hall to be built in the Karoo and sports a beautiful fagade decorated with molded plaster. The museum celebrates the achievements of its former inhabitants, the heart surgeon Christiaan Barnard and the late Minister of Foreign Affairs for South Africa, minister Eric Louw.
Beaufort West has several Hotels, a caravan park and camping ground, bed and breakfast accommodations, and a few lodges. Just outside town is the Karoo National park, complete with 4x4 trails. The park has numerous species of wildlife and some interesting fossil and archeological items.