Karoo National Park
SANParks can be counted on every time to provide wonderful nature reserves to visit. They are always extremely clean, well staffed and provide comfortable accommodation – the Karoo National Park is no exception. 12km from Beaufort West and situated in the dry, open spaces of the Karoo, surrounded by majestic dolerite cliffs, it is best visited outside the hottest months of December to March.
This park doesn’t boast the “big five” but does have lion (albeit a small number), all varieties of buck, zebra, rhino and the magnificent Verraux Eagle amongst it’s plentiful species. We didn’t spot lion on our trip – best not to make that the sole reason to visit and treat it as a bonus if it happens – but had plenty of great viewings of other animals and wonderful bird sightings.
The roads less travelled
You don’t need a 4×4 for the self-drive trails, although it helps to have a high clearance vehicle for some of the routes.
There is a 90km 4×4 only trail with a cottage (Embizweni) for overnighting and the route is said to be quite hard going in places. We are planning to do this at some stage and will report back!
Guided game drives are also on offer.
The rest camp is beautifully maintained and the restaurant served up good food at reasonable prices. There is a very well stocked shop that sells most things you would need to self cater and a large, enticing swimming pool for those burning hot days.
The campsite has clean, well maintained ablution blocks, electric points, a laundromat and kitchen. At weekends it seems to be well used and the stands are quite close together.
Hedonist Hippy recommends
The cottages in the rest camp – great views and you can spot wildlife from your stoep! Very clean and well equipped and not in such close proximity that you’re in bed with your neighbour! In fact the camp, although fairly busy when we visited, was incredibly quiet.
Afsaal Cottage – originally an old shepherd’s hut (that has been upgraded) situated on a 4×4 only drive with its own watering hole out front! Very basic but comfortable and sleeps only 2 adults – the toilet is outside. It’s in the middle of nowhere and fantastic for animal sightings – definitely not for people who don’t want to be on their own in the middle of the park with no cell reception!
Space and more space
You can drive around without seeing another car for hours – especially the 4×4 trails – which makes it especially relaxing. Picnic at one of the lovely designated spots, watch the sun sink over the hills with the outline of zebra on the skyline and listen for the night calls of the hyena.
One of the joys of this park is that it seems to be off the tourist map (except during Dec/Jan holidays) and is really a worthwhile find! This will be the first of many visits.
For further info look at their website
Where to find it