Karoo National Park Travel Guide

Karoo National Park sunset.

A rugged safari park with spectacular escarpment scenery and an interesting mixture of game animals, the Karoo National Park has a rich fossil record and is considered one of the best locations to see Grey Rhebok and Klipspringer.

A Travel Guide to the Karoo National Park

Access

Most of the visitors to the Karoo National Park enter the park by car as this allows the ability to access the nature reserve at their own leisure. The park is located 500 kilometres (310 miles) from Cape Town on the N1 national road and 1 000 kilometres (620 miles) from Johannesburg. The closest town to the nature reserve is Beaufort West which is situated just 12 kilometres (7.44 miles) from the entrance gate near the park's easterly boundary.

Airport

The closest airport to the Karoo National Park is George Domestic Airport. Visitors can fly into Cape Town International or Johannesburg's O. R. Tambo International Airport, and then may catch a connecting flight to George. George is located 300 kilometres (187 miles) from the reserve.

Internal Road Network

There is more than 80 kilometres (49.6 miles) of gravel and tarred internal road network that visitors are free to explore. There is also a 22 kilometre (13.64 miles) 4X4 trail within the reserve.

Highlights

The Karoo National Park is situated in a vast and rugged arid area known as the Great Karoo and provides spectacular arid scenery and an interesting mixture of game and bird species that have all learnt to adapt to this dry and unforgiving landscape. The Great Karoo is home to the largest ecosystem in South Africa.

Activities

Visitors to the reserve may enjoy a scenicself-drive along the Klipspringer Pass to the picturesque viewpoint located at Rooivalle. There are four 4X4 trails that visitors can explore at no additional cost and the 90 kilometre (55.8 miles) Nuweveld Trail takes one past the Embizweni Cottage where guests can overnight.

The reserve also offers organised guided day and night game drives where a qualified game ranger will take visitors out into the reserve in search of the African game animals. Guided walks are also available free of charge and offer interesting insight into the fascinating Karoo ecosystems. The Karoo National Park is known for its rich fossil records and there is a 400 metre fossil trail for guests to explore that depicts the geology and palaeontology of the Great Karoo. Bird watchers will enjoy spending time at the bird hide near to the dam and the Bulkraal picnic spot is a popular place to spend an afternoon enjoying a picnic or a braai (barbeque) and swimming in the swimming pool.

Accommodation

There are many types of accommodation in Karoo National Park ranging from 6 sleeper family cottages to 3 bedded chalets and a caravan/campsite.

The experience

While the Karoo National Park is located in a seemingly harsh and rugged landscape visitors spending some time in the area will soon fall in love with the beauty and tranquillity of their surroundings. There are 66 mammal species living in the nature reserve including Buffalo, Black Rhino, Cape Mountain Zebras and Common Eland.

Bright blue cloudless skies during the day contrast withpitch blackof night. Looking up the night time sky is filled with millions upon millions of sparkling stars twinkle down. The cottages offer beautiful views out towards the mountains and the stillness makes you feel as if you are the only people for miles and miles.

Climate

Rainfall occurs mainly during the summer months as quick thunderstorms but falls occasionally during winter as well and is most likely to occur in the east of the reserve. A drought prone area, flash floods occur easily following heavy rains. Summer temperatures are very hot; regularly exceeding 32C (89.6F) while winters can be very cold with temperatures dropping to 3.5C (38.3F) or lower.

Useful information

Visitors hiking and exploring the trails should always be alert for dangerous game animals such as Rhinos and Buffalo. If you do come across any game animals while walking stop and slowly back away while facing the animal. Visitors should always be prepared for extreme temperatures; the area can be very hot in summer and freezing in winter.

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South Africa Nature Reserves : Game Reserves and National Parks
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