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The Karoo National Park is just west of Beaufort West in South Africa.

Waterfall in an otherwise dry park

Understand[edit]

History[edit]

Landscape[edit]

Flora and fauna[edit]

  • While birding on the plains route, larks and chats are prominent. Karoo Korhaan, Ludwig’s Bustard and Namaqua Sandgrouse should also be looked for. The park’s best birding occurs in and around the campsite. Acacia Pied Barbet, Red-eyed Bulbul, Karoo Scrub Robin, Cape Robin-chat, Chestnut-vented Tit-babbler, Layard’s Tit-babbler, Yellow-bellied Eremomola, Pale-winged Starling, Southern (Lesser) Double-collared and Dusky Sunbird and Redheaded Finch are all ever present. Karoo Eremomela, Namaqua Warbler (Prinia) and Pririt Batis are regional specials to be looked out for. Raptors to look out for include Booted Eagle, Pale Chanting Goshawk, Rock Kestrel and large numbers of Lesser Kestrel in summer. The park also has a high concentration of Verreaux’s (Black) Eagle.
  • Because of the sparse vegetation, game viewing in Karoo National Park is very easy. Best viewing is achieved on the 13 km “Lammertjiesleegte” Route on the plains. Large herbivores such as Red Hartebeest, Eland, the two zebra species, kudu and springbok are all regularly seen. Klipspringer are regularly seen on the pass of the same name. Other species are less obvious due to smaller size, nocturnal habits or restriction to the wilderness areas of the park.
  • Karoo National Park has a very rich reptilian fauna. Of particular significance are the 5 species of tortoise. However there is also a terrapin, an agama, 2 chameleons, a monitor, 18 snakes and several geckos, skinks and lizards.
  • The vegetation in the Karoo National Park falls within the Karoo-Namib bio-geographical region, with areas of the park falling into the Nama Karoo Biome. The vegetation physiognomy consists of Montane Karoo grassy shrublands, Karoo grassy dwarf shrublands, Karoo succulent dwarf shrublands, and riparian thicket. Steep elevation and precipitation gradients have a direct impact on gradients in vegetation. High elevation (1800m) and relatively high rainfall (406mm) montane grasslands occupy communities dominated by grasses. The increasing aridity away from the escarpment edge is steep, and Motane Karoo dwarf shrublands replace these mesic communities. At lower elevation (800m) the precipitation is very low (175mm) and uncertain. The substrata influence the vegetation, with the sandy substrata of the drainage lines supporting more woody taxa and grasses. Moving away from the mesic environment of the riparian zone, rapid desiccation occurs and more xeric communities are encountered.

Climate[edit]

Get in[edit]

Take the N1 highway from Cape Town and drive for about 400 km, until you reach Beaufort West.

Fees[edit]

Valid to 31 October 2017:

  • South African citizens and residents (with ID): R44 per adult, R22 per child, per day
  • SADC nationals (with passport): R88 per adult, R44 per child, per day
  • Foreign visitors: R176 per adult, R88 per child, per day

Get around[edit]

The main roads are tarred. Some of the passes are not for the faint hearted. There are nice 4x4 routes.

See[edit]

  • A large collection of fossils, dating back many millions of years
  • Interpretive Centre

Do[edit]

  • A bird hide

Buy[edit]

  • Shop where curios and basic commodities may be purchased between 07:30-20:00.

Eat[edit]

  • Fully licensed a la carte restaurant which is open for breakfast and dinner from 07:00-10:00 and 18:00-21:00.
  • Picnic, braai and ablution facilities for day visitors at Bulkraal picnic site.

Doornhoek picnic site in the game viewing area.

Drink[edit]

Sleep[edit]

Lodging[edit]

  • Lodging
  • Washing machine and tumble dryer in the camping site.

Camping[edit]

Backcountry[edit]

Stay safe[edit]

Go next[edit]

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