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Cape Karoo travels
onto Roblox

Wesgro has partnered with BP and Shell to create a playable Karoo town on the gaming platform, aimed at young road-trippers.

A playable version of the quaint Karoo town Prince Albert has been created on the  Roblox gaming platform to drive regional visits this winter season. 

Wesgro, the tourism, trade and investment promotion agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape, has launched the game to inspire tweens, teens, and their families to explore the Western Cape this winter.

The game, Starlight Adventures In The Cape Karoo, aims to drive tourism across the region, highlighting lesser-known but exciting family destinations where tourism is critical to the local economy. Wesgro is the first tourism promotion agency in the world to use Roblox in its marketing campaigns, with today’s launch being the second game it has released on the platform. View the short teaser video here.

The game includes a digital clone of Prince Albert, a small town with only 7,000 people, that has been transformed into a playable experience. In researching the game, Wesgro consulted with local tour guides and cultural experts, using 3D scans of landmarks and objects to create an accurate representation of the town. With a map spanning four square kilometres, the game is one of the largest on Roblox.

Wesgro partnered with family roadside pit-stops BP, Shell, and Engen to launch the game, with  approximately 20 garages around the Western Cape distributing interactive adventure booklets, with a checklist and map promoting the game and region. Aligning with school holidays, the partnership aims to inspire young road trippers to not only download and play the animated game but visit the real-life town a s part of their winter vacation itinerary.

“Starlight Adventures in the Cape Karoo draws on the insight that the youth market has a significant role to play in influencing family holiday decisions,” says Jean Scheltema, Wesgro chief marketing and innovation officer. 

It comes off the back of the previously successful Climb Table Mountain in Roblox effort. 

“Through digitising key attractions in the region, we’ve combined edtech and gaming to inform and inspire young minds. Strategically, BP and Shell are brands synonymous with the roadtrip market domestically and are valuable distribution partners for this campaign. 

“The partnership has offered us a smart touch point to combine the Metaverse-like game with a more traditional marketing approach. A trip to the Karoo is magical and we want young people to experience this at least once in their lives”.

Players compete to win unique user-generated content (UGC) items based on the local heritage and culture of Prince Albert. Additionally, for the first time in a game, the history and culture of the Khoisan people, the world’s oldest tribe, is featured.

The game takes its cue from real-world Karoo legends. The historical, and astronomical facts that lead the dramatic action, are all garnered from people living in Prince Albert and the greater Karoo area. All characters featured in the game are either real life or modelled on people that live in Prince Albert.

Wesgro CEO Wrenelle Stander says: “Destination innovation ensures we remain globally competitive, and we’ve committed to being first movers. Beyond resembling the real-world experience, the game wouldn’t have been possible without the input and knowledge sharing from citizens in the region.”

Two real life characters include Museum Curator Lydia, based on Prince Albert’s Fransie Pienaar Museum Curator Lydia Barella, and Ghost Hunt Guide Ailsa, based on real-life Prince Albert Walking Tour Guide, Ailsa Tudhope. Both Barella and Tudhope were invaluable in sharing the history of the town, along with its legends and ghost stories.

Inga Terblanche, chair of Prince Albert Tourism says: “We are thrilled that the interactive gaming experience of Roblox’s Starlight Adventures in Cape Karoo helps place our region on the younger visitor’s radar. There is a definite uptake in youngsters loving what the Karoo has to offer – wholesome lifestyle, fascinating history, abundant outdoor adventure, pristine nature – the introduction of a digital Prince Albert experience will elevate this enthusiasm and ultimately lead to more visitors.

“The presence of two of our iconic residents, Ailsa Tudhope and Lydia Barella, makes this gaming experience even more magical and exciting. We are thankful to Wesgro’s initiative in creating awareness of a whole new, non-urban, fun adventure waiting to be explored, at the same time putting emphasis on the importance of historic and cultural heritage.”The game is available to play now on Roblox, and Wesgro hopes it will encourage players to visit the Western Cape in person and experience its beauty and culture first-hand.

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