Karoo Wonderful Pomegranates

The Karoo Wonderful Pomegranates (KWP) story starts in 2008 when one of the farmers in the group had to decide on what to plant on the family farm situated between Oudtshoorn and Calitzdorp.

After plotting regions with similar micro climatic conditions on a map of the world, he discovered that his conditions were quite similar to those found in the south of Israel.

Determined to find out more, he flew to Israel and visited a number of producers in the southern part of the country. When he asked one elderly farmer what he would grow if he had to start again from scratch, he was told: “You can never go wrong with fruit from the Bible, such as figs, olives and pomegranates.”

These fruit types thrive in the south of Israel, despite salinity problems and the high cost of irrigation water, so he decided to plant pomegranates. And not just any variety, the Israeli cultivar called Wonderful. This variety is in high demand with exporters and processors around the world. It is a high value and water-wise crop and thrives in semi-desert climates. The Klein Karoo is therefor a perfect match.

The plant material for the first orchards was obtained from Israel. This is now the mother material used to promulgate the new trees for the expansion of the orchards, ensuring a homogenous crop of quality fruit for the brand.

While the same variety grows in several regions of South Africa, the Wonderful pomegranates of the Klein Karoo is confirmed to be in a class of its own. 

“The Wonderful pomegranates of the Klein Karoo are redder and sweeter than those planted elsewhere – it’s simply the right crop for the right area.”

The climate has a lot to do with it – the long, hot summers followed by plummeting night temperatures just before harvest time at the end of March. It takes only a few colder nights for the fruit on the tree to change from light red to a beautiful, dark red colour with dark arils and a Brix as high as 19.

The best of those are exported to be sold in supermarkets across the world. The process grade fruits are exported to various countries where the arils are removed and sold. 

The excellent quality produced in the Klein Karoo demanded a bigger production, with one of the exporters stating “they have the markets for all the Wonderful pomegranates from any future expansion in the Klein Karoo - Class 1 and processing…”

This prompted the birth of the Karoo Wonderful Pomegranates producers' group. The vision – to establish an own trademark, Karoo Wonderful Pomegranates, and to establish the brand as the premium brand for pomegranates exported from South Africa.

The group also aims to expand the process fruit market and develop products from the juice grade fruit and peel. Already developed is a pomegranate port, craft beer, gin and a non-alcoholic spritzer ready for future production. Tests are also being done on pomegranate oil, which is highly sought after in the beauty industry because of its anti-aging properties. The peel of the pomegranate is said to have a high protein content, which could be used in the production of animal feed.

The Klein Karoo is a water-scarce area with poor road infrastructure in the vicinity of the packhouse. The Garden Route District Municipality was approached to assist the project with a short and long term solution. The mayor, Memory Booysen, assembled a project team and entered into an MOA to establish the Oudtshoorn area as a leading pomegranate producing hub. Access roads are currently being upgraded and an interim borehole field has been developed linked to a pipeline to ensure water security whilst investigations are underway to construct a new dam that will supply water to the next phase of the pomegranate project.

As far as can be established, this is the first agri project of this nature where a district municipality and a group of farmers have entered into an agreement that will ultimately create hundreds of jobs with a big economic impact in a rural community.

The hub concept was rolled out in 2021 with the establishment of the first 200 hectares and a further 100 hectares will be planted in August 2023. This will bring the total hectares to 300. The further expansion of the hub will be determined by available water, hence continuous search for new, sustainable water resources.

Once the 300 hectares are planted, KWP will be the biggest single producer of Wonderful pomegranates in South Africa.

Karoo Pak strives to provide a superior product, farmed ethically and sustainably.

“Once the 300 hectares are planted, Karoo Wonderful Pomegranates will be the biggest single producer of Wonderful pomegranates in South Africa.”


New Wonderful trees are cultivated in the Klein Karoo. The mother material was imported from Israel, which has a similar micro-climate to that of the Oudtshoorn area.