Shape Shifter in the Karoo


The Shape Shifting Monster in the Karoo has been quiet for a while now.  Wonder if it’ll show itself again some time soon?  Road Travel will be doing a mid-winter road trip into the Karoo heartland to go look for it and of course to experience the many weird and wonderful things to do and see and to do sight inspections of accommodation on offer in the area.  Here we share an article about this much talked about shape shifter.  This is really just a bit of light hearted fun… We’ll let you know what transpires! 😉

A ‘monster’ plaguing the sleepy Karoo town of Steytlerville struck again over the Easter weekend, Eastern Cape police said.  Another two sightings of the “shape-shifting creature” were reported, said Warrant Officer Zandisile Nelani. “Two men were walking near a tavern when they saw another man wearing a black jacket.  One of the men, identified only as Nozipho, went up to the stranger and asked him, “What is your problem?” said Nelani.  When the stranger did not respond, Nozipho went closer and saw that the man had no head.  The man then turned into a dog that was “very angry” and “as big as a cow”, Nelani said.  He said that as Nozipho and his friend ran away, the monster allegedly turned on another group of people in the same road. “They said it turned into a big monkey, and then it was gone,” Nelani said.

He said that since the monster was spotted near the tavern, people were afraid to go there at night.  Last week police were told by residents that the monster changed shape while one looked at it.  One man had reported that it changed from a man wearing a suit into a pig and then into a bat.  There had also been rumors that the monster could fly.  Previously, the monster had only been spotted near the church.  It had even been seen peering through the windows during a service, but had vanished by the time the congregation came outside.

Nelani said that the community had dubbed the monster “Bawokozi”, meaning ‘brother-in-law’.  Sightings of the monster began over a month ago when it was seen by mourners attending two separate funerals, Nelani said.  He said that the community requested a meeting with police because they were frightened of it.  Police agreed to work with residents, but asked them to try to take a photograph of it as evidence.  Nelani said that a photograph had since been taken of the monster resting under a tree.  He said that when the photo was taken the monster had been in human form but when the photo was developed an unknown animal was visible in the picture. “It is a very strange thing happening in Steytlerville, but no one has been hurt by it,” Nelani said.


Steytlerville is one of the quaintest Karoo towns in South Africa.  The sleepy town is the North-eastern gateway into the Baviaans Kloof and is the home of many architectural gems.  Victorian and Edwardian houses abound.  Due to its smallness many of the houses are well preserved and escaped expansionism.  Steytlerville has become popular amongst artists and retirees.  With very little rain, intensely hot summers and bitter winters, this area is a broad expanse of endless plains broken only by flat-topped kopjes and on its perimeter, by beautiful mountains whose overhangs are filled with San rock art.  Succulents, dwarf shrubs, umbrella shaped wild plum trees and ancient cycads manage to grow in this unique arid zone and clear skies and lack of light pollution make for beautiful evenings of stargazing and some awe inspiring sunrises and sunsets.

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