Names like Buffelsvlei and GamkaRiver (Khoi for lion) recall the wild animals that once roamed the Calitzdorp district. Today one of the most endangered large mammals, the Cape Mountain Zebra (less than 800) is conserved in the Gamkaberg Nature Reserve. Calitzdorp has the highest concentration of Pale Chanting Goshawk in the Southern Hemisphere. Other birdlife abounds as does a great variety of butterflies.
Flowering shrubs as Wild Pomegranate, “vygies”, lye bush, milkweed and Chinese Lantern occur widely and shelter many other smaller plants in their shade. The Little Karoo stretches from Montagu in the West to Uniondale in the East and is bordered by the Langeberg in the South and the Swartberg in the North. With about 500 species of succulents, it is the second richest area for these interesting plants in the world. Only Namaqualand boasts more diversity. Calitzdorp is right in the middle of the Little Karoo. It is an ideal place to see succulents. many of which are found only here, including the peculiar horse teeth (Haworthia Truncate).
Port grape varieties prefer a hot, dry, climate such as that of Calitzdorp. There are quite a lot of similarities between the climate of Calitzdorp and the Dauro valley in Portugal. The poor, well drained soils of Calitzdorp, where vines struggle to ripen, are very suitable for Port production. These port wines are produced from internationally recognised port grape varieties that enhance the aroma-intensity, depth and complexity of these port wines. The dedication of the port-makers is pivotal in the production of these prize winning ports, made in the classic tradition of a high alcohol and relatively low sugar content.
Calitzdorp is also ideal for the production of high quality olives and olive oil.