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Karoo National Park

It is situated about 500 km (311 miles) north of Cape Town and 1000 km (621 miles) from Johannesburg. The Park, 10km from the picturesque town of Beaufort West, is part of the largest ecosystem is South Africa, Great Karoo. Rock strata and fossils take you back to the ancient times, when the area was a freshwater lake inhabited by large mammal-like reptiles and primitive amphibians. This dry and rugged region is one characterised by the relentless hardships it casts upon its inhabitants. This arid ecosystem is the largest ecosystem in the country and hosts a remarkably diverse selection of wildlife, both flora and fauna. Any creature capable of surviving the Karoo, from small succulents to little reptiles, can do so only thanks to their special adaption to the somewhat brutal environment. The park has an annual rainfall which totals to 260mm, with the plains being hot in summer, and the mountain areas relatively cool throughout the year. During mid-winter, snow occurs regularly on the peaks of the Nuweveld Mountains. The Karoo National Park is given shape by the contrast between the Nuweveld Mountains and wide open rolling plains. Although much of the region's wildlife has dwindled, this park has taken care to re-establish the original species within their traditional home.

Due to the specific nature of the Karoo environment, the ecosystem is marked as one full of endemic life. This means that there are species with unique characteristics, found only in the Karoo. Black rhino, Cape mountain zebra and buffalo have all been reintroduced to the park. The park is also proud to boast over the fact that it hosts more than twenty pairs of breeding black eagles. Other birds of prey to watch out for include Booted Eagle, Jackal Buzzard, Pale Chanting Goshawk and the Rock Kestrel. Karoo Korhaan, Ludwig’s Bustard and Namaqua Sandgrouse should also be looked for. Pied Barbet, Redeyed Bulbul, Karoo and Cape Robin, Titbabbler, Layard’s Titbabbler, Yellowbellied Eremomola, Palewinged Starling, Lesser Doublecollared and Dusky Sunbird and Redheaded Finch are all ever present.

Because of the sparse vegetation, game viewing in Karoo National Park is easily facilitated. Large herbivores such as Red Hartebeest, Black Wildebeest, Eland and the two zebra species, kudu and springbok are all regularly seen. Klipspringers 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. The 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 park has the Klipspringer Mountain Pass that acts as a special area of interest because it provides visitors with spectacular views, but the pass is also an example of civil engineering toil and precision.

How to get there
Internal Road Networks are tarred, with the exception of the 4x4 Trail. Coaches and buses cannot access all roads in the Park; therefore drivers should contact Park Reception for more information. Entrance to the Park is from the N1 and the rest camp is approximately 12 km south from the town of Beaufort West.

Via air, the closest airport is situated in George, approximately 300 km from the Park. International airports are situated in Cape Town and Johannesburg. An airport for small aircraft is situated 10 km north of Beaufort West

Car hire facilities are located at airports and major cities.

1. Amy's Place offers everything one would expect from traditional Karoo hospitality and comfort. Specially designed to cater for 6 guests, Amy's offers home-from-home comforts in spacious open-plan living, and large, over-sized rooms.

2. Suretta's B&B and Eatery has a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. It caters for a wide variety of clients' needs, offering a true "home from home" experience.

3. Tree Top Guest House is one of the earliest residential buildings in the town.

4. El Yolo One is a working Karoo guest farm situated at the foot of the Swartberg mountain range in the Great Karoo.

5. Ko-Ka Tsara Bush Camp meaning "small bucks kloof" in Khoi, is set in the Nuweveld Mountains of the Great Karoo, 8km outside Beaufort West.

6. Rooiheuwel Holiday Farm is situated in the Great Karoo, 80km west of Beaufort West and 60km north of Leeu Gamka. The farm is the ideal place for a quiet weekend away, to explore the natural beauty of the Great Karoo.

7. Campsites and caravan



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