During the late 1950’s a local farmer (and twitcher) William Quinton campaigned for a conservation area in the Beaufort West vicinity.
However, it was only in the 1970s that South African National Parks proposed the establishment of a National Park that would be representative of the Nama Karoo Biome after a campaign launched by the South African Nature Foundation (SANF) and funded through the commission and sale of special art stamps depicting the flora and fauna of the Great Karoo. After considering a number of possible suitable areas it was decided to establish this new park in the vicinity of Beaufort West.
In a gesture of support, the Town Council of Beaufort West donated 7 209 ha of communal land north-west of the town to the South African National Parks. This area then formed the nucleus of the Karoo NP, proclaimed in 1979. SANF purchased additional land to be incorporated into Karoo NP, and in 1989 a luxury rest camp was opened.
The Great Karoo is an area of unrivalled importance for understanding the evolution of the oldest known complex ecosystems on land. The park forms part of one of the Karoo’s classic study and collecting areas for the wealth of ancient petrified fossils of the long-gone Karoo animals. In the Karoo NP there is a clearly visible link between the geological horizons of the plains of Beaufort West, progressing through time, layer by layer, to those at the top of the Nuweveld escarpment.
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