Camdeboo National Park
Did you know?
The remains of elephants have been found near this semi-desert national park.
The Camdeboo National Park in the middle of the Great Karoo is a stunningly beautiful reserve. It curves almost entirely around the historic town of Graaff-Reinet, which was 1st settled in the late 1700s.
The most famous attraction within the park is the Valley of Desolation, which sounds more severe than it looks. The valley is more like a cupped hollow at the top of a massive hill. It is lined with dolerite pillars that have eroded until they have become jointed, balancing 1 boulder atop another.
There are few places more scenic in the whole of South Africa, and it’s not unusual to come across visitors sitting in meditative silence on the flat rocks along the viewing points.
This semi-desert park is also known for its spring (September to November) colours. The sage green veld is interspersed with violets, pinks, yellows and whites. After good rains, there are flowers everywhere, daisies dancing in the sun.
Later in the year it’s the time of the coral aloes, their vivid orange blooms punctuating the Karoo veld.
The Camdeboo National Park started small in 1935 when the Valley of Desolation was proclaimed a then-National Monument. Over the years, the reserve has gradually expanded.
Seen on a map, this desert reserve looks like 2 giant hands gently cupping the town of Graaff-Reinet.
The park has an exciting goal in mind – to enter into conservation partnerships with landowners until it links up with the Mountain Zebra National Park near Cradock. This would create a massive conservation area stretching 120km in length and covering at least 330 000ha. This kind of mega-park is highly valuable in terms of biodiversity protection.
Although scenery and vegetation are the major drawcards, a large section of the park has been stocked with wildlife. Look out for kudu, springbok, meerkats and bat-eared foxes. Birders should keep an eye open for Levaillant’s cisticola, the neddicky, long-billed crombec and tit-babbler.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Tel: +27 (0)49 892 3453