Camdeboo National Park

This small park in the arid, magical southern Karoo offers unique scenery, including the towering dolerite pillars of the Valley of Desolation. Despite surrounding the town of Graaff-Reinet, Camdeboo shelters an array of fascinating creatures adapted to arid ecology, including the bat-eared fox and 42 other mammal species. Size: 19 405 hectares. Situated near the town of Graaff-Reinet in the southern-central region of South Africa.


Blog posts

Days 42-43 – Year in the Wild 2013-14 – Small creatures, big place

The cold front from the Cape hit the Karoo just as I arrived at Camdeboo National Park. I had just two days in this little protected area near Graaff-Reinet. Sometimes poor weather can add mood to a photograph, but mostly it simply makes everything dull and grey.

I've been to Camdeboo a few times, and the views of the Karoo are some of the best. Although everyone goes to the Valley of Desolation, another really good viewpoint is at the end of the Kuduskloof 4x4 trail. Here I watched a barrage of dark clouds roll in across the vlaktes of the awesome sight. As impressive was the wind as it roared around the koppie on which I was standing. Whooooaaarrr!

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Karoo Journey – Night time in Camdeboo National Park

My next stop on my journey for Wild Magazine through the Karoo in the middle of a South African summer was Camdeboo National Park. This little protected area – whose name means “valley of green” in the ancient Khoe language - surrounds the historical town of Graaff-Reinet, a place that has more national monuments than any other in the country – remarkable for such a small town in the middle of nowhere!

One of these national monuments is the so-called Valley of Desolation.  A road from Graaff-Reinet winds to the top of a koppie (or small mountain), 1 500 metres above sea level, and from there the panoramic view of the Karoo is probably one of the best and Read more »

Camdeboo…valley of green

Camdeboo…what a lovely name. This national park which surrounds the town of Graaff-Reinet is the second smallest in the country (after Bontebok National Park), but I think it has the most evocative name off all the nature reserves in the country. Park manager Peter Burdett tells me that the name "Camdeboo" comes from a Khoi word meaning “green valley”, and at first this term may seem incongruous with the usually dry, mauve landscape of the Karoo.

But if you look closely at the slopes on the hills surrounding the town, you’ll see a lot of light-green tinges…these are spekboom, that wonderful succulent plant which grows so proficiently in this part of the world (and especially in the Baviaanskloof where I was last week). And for the Khoi people who would have lived here, the relative Read more »