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Karoo: Info/Advice

Addo, Camdeboo, Karoo, Mountain Zebra
jonjon
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Re: BIG SKY Country! (Karoo NP)

Unread post by jonjon » Sat Feb 26, 2011 2:15 pm

I dont think that the Parks board know what a jewel they have concerning the Karoo Park. There is no other park in the SA like it. It is like visiting back in time a few million years into the past, and to think how much history is locked away in the ground. Alas we only can see about two thirds of the park the rest is inaccessable by the public.
This park has the right qualities to make it the premium park for three day hiking trails or more, but alas to fully explore this wonderful area you have go to private farms, and some of them are too far away.

Lennie Senior
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Re: BIG SKY Country! (Karoo NP)

Unread post by Lennie Senior » Sun Mar 20, 2011 9:34 pm

jaybabe's comment dated 30/11/2010 regarding camping in Karoo:-
My wife and I are regular caravan camping visitors to Karoo and I have never experienced bad or noisy behaviour in the camp area. It has always been a wonderful experience camping at Karoo with very well looked after ablusions and, despite the arid area, well maintained lawns. Should it happen that a noisy party cross my camping at Karoo, I shall certainly be the party-pooper to stop them right away !

During our last 2 day visit in September 2010, we saw Steenbok, Red Hartebeest, Ostrich, Tortiose, Black-Backed Jackal, Springbok, Mountain Zebra, Burchell's Zebra, Gemsbok, Klipspringer and Kudu. Unfortunately we missed Black Rhino, Cape Buffalo and Eland, however, this will be corrected soon !

I am looking forward to a 4 day camping stay at Karoo within 14 days and I may be blessed to wake up at night hearing a lion roar !

Lennie

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Re: BIG SKY Country! (Karoo NP)

Unread post by Lennie Senior » Tue Mar 22, 2011 9:41 pm

Jad

My view is that you do not visit a nature park "to see it all". To experience the beauty of nature as a whole in a specific park (and not only the game that may be present) is so much more rewarding. By just being able to be there is already a blessing. Furthermore, my opinion is that one should not compare the different nature parks as each of them have special characteristics to treasure.

You may find the daytime wheather in June very pleasant, however, the nights can become very cold, but this is tipical Karoo in winter and it is up to you to make it a cozy camping experience !

Enjoy your stay at Karoo National Park in June and I shall enjoy mine in 10 days time.

Lennie

doedsie
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Re: BIG SKY Country! (Karoo NP)

Unread post by doedsie » Mon Jul 18, 2011 4:44 pm

Just spent a week in Karoo (3/7 to 10/7) and thoroughly enjoyed it. A great park! We missed the two male lions - they were literally metres from the fence behind our camping spot (10) and was seen by other campers who took an early morning stroll along the fence. Did not bother to tell anyone else about the lions.
We did see a brown hyena in Lammertjiesleegte - about 3km after the picnic spot turnoff - and two days later saw a caracal on the picnic spot road. What great sightings and in my estimation better than a lion sighting! Could not get good photo's though.
I am surprised at the number of peolpe who use the park as a stop over only. Do they miss out on a great experience!

Friedrich von Hörsten
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Re: BIG SKY Country! (Karoo NP)

Unread post by Friedrich von Hörsten » Mon Jul 18, 2011 8:53 pm

Hi Doedsie,

You said:
I am surprised at the number of people who use the park as a stop over only. Do they miss out on a great experience!


I couldn't agree more with you!

Just spent the last 3 days in B/West, and visited the park 6x, just to relax before school starts again today!

I have thought about your quote for a very long time, and even wrote to Sanparks a number of years ago, and told them that ``Karoo NP will remain merely a convenient stopover between Cape Town and Johannesburg until they return all the animals that belong there, especially the predators like lions, then it will become a proper destination in itself''.
Much was my surprise when a while after that, the announcement came that lions were to be introduced to KNP, so that it would no longer ``only be a convenient stopover between Cape Town and Johannesburg, but a destination in its own right.'' I know this caused serious dissent among KNP lovers, and I can understand why -- the Karoo is a place where you need to walk and listen... and with lions around, that is not so easy anymore!

The lions are back, and driving in the park has an exciting edge to it, but there are still a few things missing...

Imagine going to the Kgalagadi transfrontier Park, with ONLY the following facilities:
Twee Rivieren camp/The road to Rooiputs/ the road to Houmoed/1 chalet near Kieliekrankie on a 4x4 route. No leopards, no cheetahs, 8 lions plus the usual general wildlife and...
Honestly -- how many people would bother to travel from Cape Town or Johannesburg or Germany to go and see that?

Now change the name from Kgalagadi to Karoo. We have the same recipe, and expect people to spend more time there...?
* Honestly -- there are only 2 loops to drive (1 is currently half-closed),
* NO waterholes shown on maps, NO `waterholes' (only a derelict old cement dam plus trough x2, leftovers from previous farms) near the road where animals and birds like sandgrouse can be photographed or viewed while drinking…
* Spread 2 groups of lions over 80 000 hectares, where they mostly prefer the remote, mountain areas… plus a few black rhinos and buffalos hiding in an inaccessible spot
* Stop your vehicle on either of the loops, switch off the engine and listen to… the sound of trucks on the N1 in the background! Try to photograph the beautiful zebras on the first loop, and you find B/west or trucks on the N1 in the background!
*The true wilderness areas are on the 4x4 route, or around the corner into Doornhoek picnic spot, where you feel truly remote and cut off from our rushed world, but most visitors can’t go on that (easy) 4x4 route…

The only solution I can see is that there needs to be at least 1 more proper loop into the western interior of the park, up to the Leeu river, with at least a small campsite there at a central point where animals come down to drink, so that visitors have more options and incentives to investigate this beautiful park better.
*Plus bring in the missing springbok (I saw more zebras than springbuck!) plus leopards plus cheetahs, and eventually even wild dogs??? These predators can keep each other in check, and make the park more attractive to visitors!
* Considering that such an inordinate percentage of the park is inaccessible mountainous terrain, a very special 3 day guided hike could cover this magnificent area on foot...

I can see the day when true nature loving Capetonians don’t bother driving all the way to Kgalagadi anymore, but zip off to Beaufort West for the weekend to enjoy their wilderness experience in this stunning park with its huge sky and towering blue mountains…

God bless,

Friedrich von Hörsten
``God, I can push the grass apart and lay my finger on your heart'' -- E. St V Millay

Friedrich von Hörsten
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Re: BIG SKY Country! (Karoo NP)

Unread post by Friedrich von Hörsten » Wed Jul 20, 2011 8:05 pm

Hi Doedsie

Lets mention the positive aspects!

*Those hazy blue mountains, layer behind layer, are spectacular!
*The drive up Klipspringer pass is seriously beautiful!
*The quiet and peace behind the hills and 4x4 route are very special!
*The chalet people have breakfast included in their fee, so you have the park all to yourself while they are eating!
*I bet that pool at the picnic spot must be wonderful in summer!

God bless,

Friedrich von Horsten
``God, I can push the grass apart and lay my finger on your heart'' -- E. St V Millay

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MATTHYS
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Re: advice for 1st timer

Unread post by MATTHYS » Tue Aug 02, 2011 3:55 pm

Hi and welcome to the forums, fdl :D

Some info from the leaflet received when checking in at Karoo NP, which might be of use to you :

PARK HOURS :

Reception - Daily: 7:00 to 19:00
Visitors with reserved accommodation, who arrive after 19:00, may collect the keys to their accommodation at the gate entrance. Check-in time commences at 15:00 and accommodation must be vacated by 9:00.

Shop - Daily: 7:00 to 20:00
The shop sells basic commodities, such as milk, bread, eggs, meat, liquor and soft drinks, as well as a wide selection of curios with an Africa flair, camera film, newspapers, magazines, nature guide books and firewood.

Restaurant - Breakfast: 7:00 to 10:00
Dinner: 18:00 to Late

The restaurant is fully licensed and serves both breakfast and dinner, a la carte.

Entrance Gate - Daily: 5:00 to 22:00
The Park is open every day of the year, including Christmas and New Year.
Late arrivals permitted only by prior arrangement with reception.
aquila non capit muscas

enrico
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Re: advice for 1st timer

Unread post by enrico » Tue Aug 02, 2011 6:13 pm

Hi fdl.
Have done the same trip,Plett to KTP a couple of times and stayed over at Karoo Nat Park.
Cannot help you as to the quality or availabilty of the lamb tjops but can vouch for the restaurant.
Good value,service and food.

As far as I know the gate is manned by security throughout the night and as long as you have your gate permit,they will let you leave before official opening times.
Check with reception when you get there.

Travelling time from Karoo to Twee Rivieren will be about 9 hours with stops,via Three Sisters,Britstown,Groblershoop and Upington.

The road is very good and tarred all the way.

Enjoy your trip. :mrgreen:

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Addo Elephant
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Re: BIG SKY Country! (Karoo NP)

Unread post by Addo Elephant » Tue Aug 02, 2011 11:23 pm

Thanks doedsie, Friedrich and others for your comments.
We do recognise the need to open up more of the Park for visitors with the opening of new roads for sedan vehicles. However, this is a medium to long-term goal, depending on the sourcing of funding. Roads are a costly exercise! The introduction of cheetah is also on the cards within 2-4 years time, depending on the results of annual game census which indicate the size of prey populations.

doedsie, your brown hyena may possibly have been an aardwolf. There are two resident aardwolf on the Lammertjiesleegte route and brown hyena have never been recorded in the Park. This is another species we hope to reintroduce in the future.
Megan Taplin
Communications Manager: Frontier Region

enrico
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Re: advice for 1st timer

Unread post by enrico » Thu Aug 04, 2011 4:59 pm

Congratulations on your wedding.
You have picked a fantastic venue. :clap:

Travelling time Plett to Karoo National Park via Knysna,George,Oudtshoorn and Meiringspoort is about four hours easy.
Meiringspoort is a spectacular pass.

If you travel via Wittedrift and Uniondale the distance is less but the gravel road is not in the best of condition after our recent rains.
Also a very pretty drive but you would not save much time.

After the wedding reception,I would suggest the longer route.
You are going to have enough gravel to contend with in KTP.

Have a great time.

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Re: BIG SKY Country! (Karoo NP)

Unread post by Addo Elephant » Thu Aug 04, 2011 10:42 pm

Over 2000 springbok were introduced during the course of the past year. Unfortunately, we didn't have a chance to do a full census during our annual census earlier this year because there were technical problems with the helicopter so we don't have a clear picture of what the springbok population looks like yet.
We will continue to monitor the population.
Megan Taplin
Communications Manager: Frontier Region

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arks
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Re: advice for 1st timer

Unread post by arks » Fri Aug 12, 2011 10:32 pm

Actually, it appears that the Pick 'n Pay in Beaufort West is open on Sunday 8)
Normal trading hours:
Monday : 07:00 to 20:00
Tuesday : 07:00 to 20:00
Wednesday : 07:00 to 20:00
Thursday : 07:00 to 20:00
Friday : 07:00 to 20:00
Saturday : 07:00 to 20:00
Sunday : 07:00 to 20:00

Telephone number:
023 415-2144

Physical address:
Shop 1, Beaufort West Mall, Corner Danie Theron and Donkin Streets 6970, South Africa.
RSA 2016
4,5 April Melville
6-19 April KNP: Croc Bridge, Olifants, Shingwedzi, Pafuri Border
20-24 April Mapungubwe: Leokwe
25 April-28 May Darling
29 May-19 June Cape Town

jad
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Re: BIG SKY Country! (Karoo NP)

Unread post by jad » Sat Sep 10, 2011 2:24 pm

I was there a few months ago and the bird hide was closed unfortunately owing to it being outside the gate to the camp. I would have thought they would make some provision for visitors to have access to it. But the park itself is so beautiful which makes up for the hide being closed

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Re: BIG SKY Country! (Karoo NP)

Unread post by Addo Elephant » Mon Sep 12, 2011 12:00 pm

Hi Dassiedelight,
The bird hide is definitely still acessible. A fenced walkway has been created so that you can park your vehicle next to the walkway and walk in safety to the hide. I think jad must have been there while they were still starting to construct the walkway.
Megan Taplin
Communications Manager: Frontier Region

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DinkyBird
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Re: Karoo: Info/Advice

Unread post by DinkyBird » Wed Dec 07, 2011 9:11 pm

Some pics I took while in Karoo beginning of Nov.

The sky stretches all around one in the Karoo. It leaves one with such a feeling of freedom.
Image
Karoo sky

A very nice picnic area:
Image
Picnic site - Karoo

Image
Picnic site - Karoo

The camping area is really lovely, with birdlife and good views.
Image
Karoo camping area
Sawubona
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