Camdeboo National Park Travel Guide
| A Gem in the Heart of the Karoo

A scenic view of Camdeboo National Park.

Located in the north-west of South Africa's Eastern Cape Province, Camdeboo National Park is a peaceful and tranquil nature reserve with the town of Graaff-Reinet at its heart.

All you need to know about visiting the Camdeboo National Park

Access

The Camdeboo National Park is located 209 kilometres (129 miles) from Beaufort West, 215 kilometres (133 miles) from Port Elizabeth and approximately 600 kilometres (372 miles) from Cape Town.

To access the Valley of Desolation and the game viewing area, travel along the main road in Graaff-Reinet - College Road, this then becomes Church Street. At the end of Church Street one will find the Old Dutch Reformed Church in the middle of the road. Follow the road left, and then turn right into Caledon Street. When you reach a four-way stop, turn right and travel to Murraysburg. The turnoffs to both the Valley of Desolation and the game viewing area will be on your left.

When travelling to the Lakeview Tented Camp head towards the Old Dutch Reformed Church as above. Follow the road left and then turn right at the stop street into Caledon Street. Continue down Calendon Street to the next stop street, where you will turn left onto the N9 Middleburg road. The park entrance will be on the left 4 kilometres (2.5 miles) down the road.

Internal Road Network

Visitors can explore the nature reserve at leisure while traversing the 24 kilometres of gravel game-viewing road looking for game animals.

Airport

The closest International airport is Cape Town International Airport. Visitors not wanting to drive for over 6 hours can then take a connecting flight to the Port Elizabeth Domestic Airportand drive from there.

Highlights

Breath-taking scenery provides phenomenal photographic opportunities. Excellent hiking trails and sightings of a wide variety of wildlife species, including Greater Kudu, Cape Mountain Zebra and Savannah Buffalo make the Camdeboo National Park a popular destination for nature lovers and those wanting to escape into the space and peaceful embrace of this beautiful landscape.

Stopping to enjoy a picnic at one of the picnic sites provided will allow for great bird-watching. Visitors will also enjoy being able to step out on one of the shorter (1.5 kilometres / 0.9 miles) or longer, overnight (14 kilometres / 8.6 miles) hiking trails found within the reserve.

Activities

The wide-open and expansive landscape offers abundant activities for those visiting the area. A drive up to the view point of the Valley of Desolation affords panoramic views out across the valley below. Guests can enjoy game-viewing and bird watching while exploring the wildlife park by car or while hiking on one of the many hiking trails. There are two 4X4 trails within the reserve ranging from a grade 2 to a grade 4 in difficulty.There are also 6 picnic all offering braai and ablution facilities.

For guests looking for something a little different to do; why not head down to the Nqweba Dam to enjoy a range of water sport activities, including boating, fishing, windsurfing and canoeing. The Dam is also a popular location for bird-watching and occasional wildlife such as Springbok, Buffalo and Gemsbok can be seen coming down to the banks for a drink of water.

Accommodation

There is no accommodation for guests within the reserve itself but there are a number of Guest Houses and Bed & Breakfast options within the town of Graaff-Reinet as well as farms and game farms a little further out. Guests staying in the area can look forward to experiencing authentic Karoo hospitality and should try some of the delicious local cuisine.

Climate

The climate of the Camdeboo Karoo is typically dry with a small amount of rain occurring, usually as thunder storms, on very hot days. Most of the rain occurs in February and March. Frost is quite common and snowfalls may occur in the higher regions of the reserve in winter. The average temperature in January is 38.6C (101F) while in winter the temperatures drop drastically to -0.3C (32.5F) in July.

Useful information

The weather in summer is known to change suddenly, and hikers should always pack extra layers and avoid the higher regions of the nature reserve during thunder storms. Dangerous large game is present within the reserve, so visitors should always be cautious and should never approach any animals. When heading out for the day always ensure that you have packed sunscreen and hats and that you have sufficient water with you, the extremely hot temperatures can result in dehydration and sunstroke very quickly.

The gate to the Valley of Desolation is an unmanned gate and visitors wanting to explore the nature reserve will need to pre-purchase a permit in town or at the main gate prior to entering the reserve. Once you have purchased a permit and paid entry fees for one point of entry into the park you will not be charged again that day. Visitors can find out all the information they need by visiting the Tourism Office in Graaff-Reinet.

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South Africa Nature Reserves : Game Reserves and National Parks
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