Why Karoo Lamb?

For hundreds of years, sheep in the Karoo have foraged on its sparse and arid plains, the shrubs giving the lamb its characteristic texture and herby flavour. This, combined with the area’s climate and the producers’ farming methods, means Karoo lamb is world-renowned, with a global consumer demand for the product.

International Recognition
Karoo Lamb is South Africa’s first geographical indication (GI) in the meat industry and has achieved the unique achievement to be recognised by the European Union as a true GI.

Products with similar geographical and sensory features that are also recognised and protected are Rooibos tea, Darjeeling Tea and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese to name a few.

Now what makes meat from Karoo sheep so unique and distinct in flavour?
The Karoo has a harsh climate, cold winters and hot summers with hardly any rainfall. The indigenous shrubs endure this harsh climate and grow year round, while grass only grows in rainy season. The Karoo sheep mainly feed on this indigenous flora, which is nutritious as well as palatable to the sheep. These shrubs have a very herby aroma, varying from rosemary, thyme, sage, eucalyptus and lavender. One can say that the sheep flavour their own meat while grazing.
Even when walking around in the fields you can smell the herbs of the Karoo bushes and shrubs. It almost feels like walking around in a spice market and gives its distinctive taste to the Karoo meat.

What does the Mark Certify / Guarantee?

  • Meat with distinct Karoo flavour.
  • Free Range Mutton and Lamb grazing on indigenous Karoo veldt vegetation. Produced and slaughtered in the Karoo region (as defined by the Karoo Development Foundation)
    * Sheep born in the Karoo
    * OR sheep born outside the Karoo but remain in the area for at least 6 continuous months before slaughter, and free of scheduled diseases.
  • Regardless of breed
  • No feedlot lamb or mutton
  • No added hormones
  • Traceable to farm of origin
  • Farms required to comply with Good Stockmanship and Animal Welfare Practices.

 Expert Opinion:

Abigail Donnelly (food editor of Taste magazine) “Karoo lamb is an indigenous South African ingredient that we can proudly showcase to the rest of the world. What I really love about it is that it has unique and unmistakable flavours. This is not simply another melktert or chakalaka dish but an exceptional South African ingredient.”


Errieda du Toit (cookbook author) “I reckon certified Karoo lamb will be the flavour of the decade and that simple lamb dishes with minimum seasoning will be rediscovered to display the unique flavour of the meat at its best.”


Hetta van Deventer-Terblanche (food historian) “We need to protect our country’s diversity. Through this terroir-specific brand, we add not only value to our great products, but we also cater for the growing sophisticated consumer market. It becomes more and more important for consumers to know where and how products originate.”



PhD graduate's research helps to put international seal on Karoo lamb - Stellenbosch University



'It's what you eat that counts' - Proof that Karoo lamb is special

How Karoo lamb gets its unique flavour