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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Karoo Route : Camdeboo National Park

We drove for 5 hours from Oudtshoorn to get to Camdeboo.  This included a semi pit-stop for baby to stretch his legs and have a few snacks.

Upon arriving at the airconditioned offices at the Camdeboo reception , we had a friendly welcome and checked in to our fancy tented camp which was our home for the next 4 nights.

 Camdeboo National Park: Also known as the "Gem in the crown of the Great Karoo".
Karoo Route : Camdeboo National Park
The first night was exceptionally windy and rather cold, and this did not do any justice to our baby's bad cough.   When the sun came out the next morning, we were welcomed by the famous Karoo heat.  We set up the baby pool and filled it with water to add to the entertainment for our son.  It turned out that the monkeys also liked the pool.
The kitchen facilities were top class and we ended up spending most of our time here.  The Karoo heat pushed us out of our tented camp under the comforting shade of the thatched communal kitchen.   We also enjoyed the company of the various people visiting at the other 4 tented camps.

The downside to this was the monkeys and the combination of the responsibility of the baby.  We could not move from one to the other without having to lock everything away first.  This proved to be a challenge when you forgot something in the tent or the kitchen.
Karoo Route : Camdeboo National Park

Lesser Striped Swallow
Camdeboo National Park was proclaimed after the Karoo Nature Reserve, which was under the control of the Provincial Government since 1979, was transferred to South African National Parks (SANPARKS) in October 2005.  The park is currently 19405 hectares in extent and surrounds the historical town of Graaff-Reinet.

Alex went for a long walk every morning before sunrise to see if he could spot any birds.  The birdlife is not so good around the camp area, but near the dam there are many birds to see.

Karoo Route : Camdeboo National Park
Khwalimanzi Hide: The is a beauful birdhide but it was just too far away from the waters edge, so you could not get the real experience.

Greater Flamingos

Lesser Striped Swallows

 The Lakeview Tented Camp and the Nqweba Campsite offer rustic overnight experiences on the floodplains of the Nqweba Dam.  This dam is also the watersource for the local town of Graaff-Reinet.

African Dater comorant

Juvanile : Pale Chanting Goshawk

Picnic Area

Black Wildebeest

Mountain Zeebra

Pale chanting goshawk.  This mom caught a snack for her 2 fledgelings. We enjoyed watching the vocalising between mom and babies.

Graaff-Reinet is a town in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. It is the fourth oldest town in South Africa, after Cape Town, Stellenbosch, and Swellendam
Karoo Route : Camdeboo National Park Graaff-Reinet
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The town lies 750 metres (2,460 ft) above the sea and is built on the banks of the Sunday's River, which rises a little farther north on the southern slopes of the Sneeuberge, and splits into several channels here. The Dutch Reformed church in the town is a prominent stone building in the high street with seating accommodation for 1500 people. The building is influenced by the architecture of Salisbury Cathedral in England

The Name:
Camdeboo, Xamdeboo is a Khoi-khoi word that we think means green valley.  This is more than likely related to the spekboom (Portulacaria afra) on the slopes of the mountains in the region, which remain verdant green in winter when all else has lost its leaves and turned brown.
Sundays River

Eland Nursery


Things to do in Camdeboo and surrounds:
  • Valley of Dessolation & Toposcope
  • 4x4 Trails
  • Picnics in the park
  • Gameviewing and Birding
  • Hiking and walking trails
  • Watersports

Tourist Attractions:
  • The Valley of Desolation, a geological wonder of weathered dolerite pillars which is a declared national monument with magnificent views over the Karoo plains.
  • The Camdeboo National Park of 200 km2, on the outskirts of the town with its interesting flora and fauna.
  • Stretch's Court, a picturesque restored street of Karoo cottages with brightly painted shutters and doors.
  • Reinet House Museum - a Cape Dutch building, formerly the Dutch Reformed Church parsonage
  • The Agave Distillery - a distillery producing tequila from the agave plant.
  • The Karoo architecture.
  • The Dutch Reformed Church in the centre of the town is a National Monument. This Dutch Reformed Church is the only known church in South Africa and possibly in the world to have a kitchen and a chimney.
  • The Drostdy Hotel - A Cape Dutch building erected in 1806 as the local seat of government by the VOC. Currently a hotel.
  • Graaff-Reinet is home to more national monuments than any other town or city in South Africa.

Reinet House - the oldest house in the town.
Overall Impression of the Park:

  • It was a challenge to visit this park with a 1 year old baby, that happens to have fallen ill during our 4-day stay.
  • Visiting this park in the peak of summer is not that much fun in a tented camp.
  • The monkeys were a challenge, but they are in every park.
  • Game driving was lovely and we enjoyed getting around and experiencing the quiet open spaces.
  • The 4x4 and 4x2 routes were not explored.
  • Hiking was not possible for us at this time.
  • Facilities were excellent, including our tent, the ablutions and the communal kitchen.
  • Alex enjoyed the birding.
  • This is a lovely park to stop-over.
  • The Polka Restaurant in Graaff-Reinet comes highly recommended.
  • The Graaff-Reinet town has the most national monuments in South Africa.
Other accommodation available is the Nqweba Campsite.
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