Saturday, 22 August 2015

The Karoo National Park

I left Odette’s house in Napier early on 10th August.  She told me to go via Route 62 & on to the N 12 to get to Beaufort West, my next destination.  I was unprepared for the beauty of this route & had packed my cameras away because of security fears! It was a long but interesting drive & I arrived at Beaufort West around 3pm, too late to venture into the Karoo National Park. I booked into a nice guesthouse for the next three nights & after an excellent meal, turned in for the night.

Stunning scenery surrounds the main camp.

Cape Sparrow

Familiar Chat was common around the 
park accommodation buildings.

Dusky Sunbird

Red eyed Bulbul
Cape Wagtail perched on Stoffel!


A common species here.

Mountain Wheatear

 Cinnamon breasted Rock Bunting

Layard's Tit-babbler

Common but secretive in
 patches of thick scrub.

The first signs of spring.

Sickle-winged Chat


Red Hartebeest


Found in good numbers here.

It was cold, very cold at 5.30 am on the 11th! I drove the short distance to the park & it was like entering another world! 90,000 hectares of pristine Karoo veld. The difference between the overgrazed vegetation outside the park & the brilliant vegetation inside is startling.

The veld is in excellent condition.

Cape Mountain Zebra

Today it is still a rare & range restricted species.

The park was only proclaimed in 1979 & a rest camp built in 1989, but it is a gem of a park. I loved it! Stunning vistas at every turn & some great mammals, ones that I don’t see very often, as most don’t occur in the lowveld.

Lammertjies Loop Road

Kudu here appear to have much thicker coats 
to keep the cold at bay.


Red Hartebeast

Burchell's Zebra are also found here
 in small numbers

This is a Cape Mountain Zebra. 
Can you spot the differences?

Springbok were seen in small numbers.

I drove the Lammertjies Loop in the early morning, followed by a walk around the rest camp. I also checked out the camping area for future reference (it was too cold for camping in August)!

Klipspringer Pass

The track up the pass.

Looking back down the pass from the top.

I then drove up the Klipspringer Pass, which was spectacular, with some wonderful vistas.

Afsaal Loop
Here the veld is much more sandy & flatter.

Cape (South African) Shelduck were found 
in some very dry areas.

Karoo Korhaan

Quite spectacular in flight.

Next I drove the 4 x 4 only Afsaal Loop, which proved to be productive both for game viewing & a few birds seen.
I eventually passed the renovated cottage & made a mental note to stay there in the future. It is in a spectacular setting.

Up early on the 12th & I drove the 4 x 4 De Hoek Loop & on to the Neu Loop, which eventually joined the Afsaal Loop track. This proved to be a very long drive. The weather was dull & overcast & a cold wind blew all day.


The wonderful Gemsbok

Red Hartebeast


Surprisingly uncommon in this location.

Karoo Korhaan

I am not sure if this interaction was between 
two rival males or a male displaying to a female!

Pale Chanting Goshawk

Large billed Lark

Long billed Lark  of the very distinctive
 Karoo race.

Ant-eating Chat

Animal & bird sightings were scarce but the scenery was pure magic! I was impressed by the Karoo National Park & will be back again!

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