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Media Release: Camdeboo National Park Expands

02 August 2006

The Camdeboo National Park, which surrounds the town of Graaff-Reinet in the Eastern Cape, has grown in size with the addition of the Winterhoek property.

Camdeboo National Park is the latest addition to the suite of national parks managed by South African National Parks (SANParks), with the successful transfer of the former Karoo Nature Reserve to SANParks in October last year. The transfer was made possible by the World Wide Fund for Nature in South Africa (WWF-SA) which donated the 14 500-hectare reserve.

The Winterhoek addition which consists of 9 agricultural properties, totalling 4 637 hectares, purchased from Mr. Dickie van Rensburg, increases the Camdeboo National Park to 19 405 hectares.

“The new property is a valuable addition to the park, not only in terms of expanding the conservation area, but also in terms of its aesthetic value as it borders on our most popular tourist attraction, the Valley of Desolation,” said Park Manager, Peter Burdett.

The Valley of Desolation attracts up to 70 000 visitors per year, with viewpoints offering visitors a breathtaking view of piled dolerites columns against the backdrop of the Camdeboo Plains of the Great Karoo, banked up against the Sneeuberg mountains, that are often covered in a blanket of snow.

Burdett confirmed that a Poverty Relief Program to rehabilitate areas eroded by historical overuse of the veld across the entire park was being planned. Judicious management of Winterhoek over the last decades has seen a marked improvement in the condition of the veld and park management aims to continue with this good work.

For this reason the reintroduction of any additional wildlife species to the area will have to be carefully considered and the removal of internal fences will be planned to allow for the exclusion of any remaining sensitive areas from intensive grazing by wild animals.

The cultural heritage assets of the new property have already been evaluated in a recent study by the University of Pretoria.

The Winterhoek addition is a first step in the expansion and consolidation of the Camdeboo National Park towards a greater vision of a mega-conservation area through partnerships with private land owners.