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Karoo National: To drive or not to drive....that is the question

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gjorgi
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Karoo National: To drive or not to drive....that is the question

Unread post by gjorgi » Mon Dec 14, 2015 3:59 pm

Hi everyone and Mods :tongue:

So the idea is to visit the Karoo National Park for 1 night only on our way back north after a nice sea holiday. This will be in the first week of Feb 2016, I have not booked yet but last time I looked there were still lots of space left. In any case, the drive from Kleinbrakrivier is about 3 hours so we will probably arrive around 12:00 and have a nice lunch at the restaurant.

The next day will see us spending another 10 hours in the car.
What would you do? Would you drive around that afternoon inside the park (more hours in the car) and if 'yes' where would you drive to? Is it beter to just spend the afternoon relaxing in camp, swimming, birding etc? What are the chances to see lion and/or black rhino on that one afternoon drive? :hmz:

To drive or not to drive.....what would you do?

thanks!!

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Re: Karoo National: To drive or not to drive....that is the question

Unread post by kallis1786 » Tue Dec 15, 2015 8:42 am

Good Morning Gjorgi

To be perfectly honest with you I would take a drive any day because I Love Driving, I could drive for 24 hours without getting tired of driving, but everyone is different, and depends on whats your reaction to driving, if you enjoy it or simply do it because you have to, and how much your family can take off driving, for example every time we go to Kruger, my Mom and Sister, always tend to go sleep during the day after the morning drive, and I go exploring all the different roads.

The chance of seeing a Lion is the same as any other Wild Life Park, if you in the right place at the right time, there is every chance of seeing Lions and Black Rhinos. All depends on luck.

Besides that enjoy your holiday. Have a blast

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Re: Karoo National: To drive or not to drive....that is the question

Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Tue Dec 15, 2015 9:06 am

Hi gjorgi,

I have, on occasion, made the Karoo NP a one night stop over on my way to Cape Town. I am a bit like Kallis in that I have a great love of driving.

My daughter had a one night stop over recently and enjoyed each moment. There is little to beat the Karoo soul beauty.

The Klipspringer pass is possibly the best known and most scenic route. I would recommend it, regardless of the game. It is just beautiful.

There is also the fossil trail that is well worthwhile. It will allow you to stretch your legs a bit.

The Karoo NP is well known for its hospitality and I still consider my meal there one of the best that I have ever had.

I would not hesitate to book.
The bird doesn't sing because it has answers, it sings because it has a song.

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Re: Karoo National: To drive or not to drive....that is the question

Unread post by shfish » Tue Dec 15, 2015 9:19 pm

Hi Gjorgi
I would definitely take an afternoon drive. As MM says, go up the Klipspringer pass which is very impressive, descend down the other side and proceed as far as Doornhoek picnic site where you can stretch your legs. Come back the same way.
If you're going to see lion in the Karoo, you'll see them along that stretch. This drive has granted me lion sightings on 3 out of three visits!
Black Rhino?......I don't think even SANParks knows where they are( if they are! )
Enjoy.

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Re: Karoo National: To drive or not to drive....that is the question

Unread post by gjorgi » Thu Dec 17, 2015 12:02 pm

Hi shfish!! I actually saw photos of the Black Rhino so (apparently) they do exist :lol:

Thanks for the information, your comment is the straw that broke this camel's back. Drive it is!!

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Re: Karoo National: To drive or not to drive....that is the question

Unread post by George_Brits » Thu Dec 17, 2015 12:57 pm

HI Gjorgi,

There is a very lovely picnic spot with a swimming pool that you can include in your afternoon game drive. Just saying :) I for one always spend 3 nights there then I cover all the roads, the 4x4 roads incuded... its a lovely National Park, I love the scenery and the breakfasts. I also need to admit that it is just lovely sitting there at the cottage with a good spotting scope and a glass of wine as I have seen a few animals literally from my "stoep"!

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Re: Karoo National: To drive or not to drive....that is the question

Unread post by gjorgi » Thu Dec 17, 2015 2:17 pm

Hi George,

Unfortunately the 4x4 routes will be a no-go and although I would love to stay longer that is not possible. I'm quite an avid birder so would not mind just sitting on the stoep or walk about in camp but seeing that time is not on our side I think the drive would be better.
How far from camp is the picnic spot with swimming pool? Also, in Kruger I usually make my travel time calculations on 15-20km/h but drive 25-30km/h....no idea about the Karoo. One would probably stop less? How long would it take to drive from camp to Doornhoek picnic spot and back for example, stops included etc.?

thanks for the help guys!

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Re: Karoo National: To drive or not to drive....that is the question

Unread post by shfish » Thu Dec 17, 2015 9:02 pm

Hi again Gjorgi
I'd say from camp to Doornhoek is probably about 35-40 minutes. The picnic site itself is well vegetated (riverine acacia) and it can be rewarding from a birding point of view. The other picnic site with the pool is probably a bit closer but I've never found the drive to that site as rewarding as the Doornhoek drive.

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Re: Karoo National: To drive or not to drive....that is the question

Unread post by Albert » Fri Dec 18, 2015 11:33 am

Hi Gjorgi,
Just saw this topic; I concur, take a drive to Doornhoek Picnic site; Id do the entire loop (Potlekkertjie - Doornhoek - Klipspringer or the other way around). It is about 30 km if I recall correctly, mostly good to fair gravel. Birding-wise this will allow you to look for Mountain Wheatear (Klipsprnger pass in particular), Karoo Scrub-robin and Fairy Flycatcher (lots around Doornhoek), Karoo and Sickle-winged Chat, Long-billed Pipit, and then also Verreaux's Eagle, Cape Clapper Lark and Karoo Korhaan (found all of them on the Potlekkertjie side of the loop). If you have to time when you get back to camp, take a wander down through the campsite; the birdlife there is quite amazing.

I think I've just convinced myself to visit the park again, and soon! :lol:
Searching for a Cape Eagle Owl....

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Re: Karoo National: To drive or not to drive....that is the question

Unread post by gjorgi » Fri Dec 18, 2015 11:46 am

Thanks Shfish and Albert....Albert you're quite good at this convincing thing it seems as you've convinced me to do the whole loop....that is if I can convince my wife and sister in law. Will re-assess the situation at Doornhoek I think :wink:

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Re: Karoo National: To drive or not to drive....that is the question

Unread post by George_Brits » Fri Dec 18, 2015 12:37 pm

I would love to visit the Karoo NP again soon, anyways the picnicspot with the swimmingpool is called Bulkraal and its on the lammertjies leegte circular route, I have seen quite a large variety of animals on that route, Gjorgi its not that far from the main restcamp, around 15km, thats why I usually do that late afternoon so that I can brew a cuppa coffee at the picnic site.

From the main restcamp to Doornkraal I will say, about an hour or so if you travel at Kruger gameviewing speeds?

Needless to say, its a gem of a Park and I am sure you will enjoy your stay :)

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Re: Karoo National: To drive or not to drive....that is the question

Unread post by Stoffel » Mon Dec 21, 2015 8:24 pm

shfish wrote:Hi Gjorgi
Black Rhino?......I don't think even SANParks knows where they are( if they are! )
Enjoy.


Well - I know where they are. I have seen then on quite a few occasions. This is only one of them.

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gjorgi
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Re: Karoo National: To drive or not to drive....that is the question

Unread post by gjorgi » Tue Dec 22, 2015 8:08 am

Any tips you can give someone searching for them stoffel?

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Re: Karoo National: To drive or not to drive....that is the question

Unread post by Hippotragus » Tue Dec 22, 2015 2:31 pm

When we were there a couple of years ago we didn't see any of them, but did see plenty of tracks and droppings - proof that they are there. They are very shy and good at hiding in thick bush well away from roads.
Day visitor Malelane or Crocodile Bridge 22-26 August 2016.

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Re: Karoo National: To drive or not to drive....that is the question

Unread post by Stoffel » Wed Dec 23, 2015 2:29 pm

Hi gjorgi

Unfortunately I am not allowed to give that information about the whereabouts of the blackies on this forum. I have been reprimanded before by the then liaison officer (Megan Taplin) not to reveal such information when I wrote a trip report. I can only say that they are there (meaning: "in the park" - as is anyhow stated in the park's official brochure). I have been fortunate to see blackies on four occasions (but bear in mind - during more than 60 visits to the park). Your chances of finding lions are much better. I was fortunate to see them twice from the rest camp and on a number of occasions at different spots while travelling the normal tourist routes. I have never seen lions on the 4x4 routes - although I went "searching" there quite a few times. If you know where to look for the boma (and if Sylvester is still in the boma), you can be lucky to see him (Sylvester) from the road - but with the aid of binoculars.

I have slept over in the park for one night only on numerous occasions, and will never let the opportunity slip to at least drive up Klipspringer Pass. On a trip to Rooivalle, you are about guarenteed to find a pair (if not 2 or 3 pairs) of Klipspringers - my wife's favourite of all antelopes.

Enjoy Karoo. I wish more people (or maybe I should not wish that) will discover the magic of this gem of a park. Except for our annual our stay-overs to and from Kruger, we normally try to fit in another proper visit to the park (10 - 14 nights) at least once per year (normally in September or October). Unfortunately we missed out on the latter during the past year because of a back operation that my wife had to have. But we are planning to make up for it early in 2016.
Chris Boucher
9 - 15 May 2017 - Berg-&-Dal
16 - 22 May - Lower Sabie
23 - 29 May - Satara
30 May - 5 June - Tsendze


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