The Karoo Park also known as the Tankwa Karoo National Park is located just four hours away from Cape Town in the Northern Cape of South Africa. The Park which covers over 80,000 hectares is mostly visited during the day mostly and it was officially opened in the year 1986. Although night drives through the Park are carried out, they are extremely rare and if any tourist wants to take one, then they need to inform the management early enough so that the game drive is arranged properly.
The Karoo National Park is well known for being a home to some of the rarest plant species, animals and not forgetting the bird species that are best seen at the dam. It is a home to the famous Verreaux’s eagle, the Mountain zebra and the Burchell’s zebra which are all common and can easily be seen around the National park. The gate to Karoo national Park is opened at 5:00am and closes at 10:00pm in the night and no one is allowed to gain access to the Park past those hours. If you have made arrangements with the park management before and you are a bit late, it is better to inform them so that you are not stranded when you get there.
Park entrance fees for Karoo National Park
The park fees that have been listed below are to work till 31st. October. 2020 and after that the management has a right to either change the charges or maintain them without prior notice to the tourists.
SADC residents with passports
56R per day
112R per day
S.A residents and citizens with National Ids
28R per day
56R per day
112R per day
224R per day
Reasons as to why you should visit the Karoo National Park
The Karoo National Park is a home to some of the best bird species in the country and not forgetting the animals. There are lot of reasons as to why you should check out this National Park while South Africa some of which include game drives, birding and taking nature walks, camping, having a historical tour around the National Park among other things.
Birding in the Karoo National Park
The Karoo National Park is a home to over 200 bird species in the country and it is a top birding destination for tourists. The Karoo National Park is well known for having a large concertation of the Verreaux’s eagle among other bird species. The best time to visit the Karoo national Park for birding is during the months of November to April because this is the time when the migratory birds fly into the Park. Most of the bird species that are in the Karoo National Park breed around the Dam and the notable bird species that you should look out for include:
- The black stork
- The Acacia pied barbet
- The cape robin chat
- The African rock pipit
- The Karoo Eremomela (near endemic)
- Ludwig’s bustard
- Common swift
- Chestnut vented warbler
- Karoo long billed lark (near endemic)
- Chat flycatcher
- The Booted eagle
- Verraux’s eagle
- Karoo bustard (near endemic)
- Cinnamon breasted warbler (near endemic)
- Yellow billed Eremomela
- South African shelduck
- Namaqua warbler (near endemic)
- Pririt Batis
- Short toed rock thrush
- The sickle winged chat
- Tractrac chat
- Pale winged starling among others.
Game drives in the Karoo Park
The Karoo National Park does not have a lot of wildlife and is not the perfect destination for tourists looking for an adventure of game drives and game viewing. Most of the animals found in Karoo have just been re-introduced and it is not easy for them to be seen however you might be lucky to get a clear view of some these animals. The best time to go for animal viewing in Karoo is during the cooler months of May to September and a few of the animals that you will be able to find in Karoo National Park include:
- The cape Mountain Zebra
- The Burchell’s Zebra
- The bat eared fox
- Black rhinos (rare)
- Lions (rare)
- Red hartebeest
- The Klipspringer.
Vegetation in the Karoo National Park
The Karoo National Park has a wide variety of vegetation that gives the Park a unique feel from the other National parks within the country. The vegetation that is mostly found within the Karoo is the Karoo succulent dwarf shrub lands, the Montane Karoo grassy shrub lands among others. These act as homes to some of the wild animals and birds that habitate within it and since they cover almost the entire National Park, they are best seen and observed by taking guided nature walks.
Karoo National Park hotels
When it comes to accommodation facilities within or around the Karoo National Park, every unit has its own rules and regulations especially when it comes to the cancellation policy and the same applies to payment abilities. There are three types of accommodation facilities and these are the budget friendly, the mid-range and luxurious hotels and the only thing that will determine the type you will have to use will be your budget. However irrelevant of the hotel you chose, it is always better to choose and book early especially during the high seasons so that you have easy access to the National Park.
The Lemoenfontein Game lodge
The Lemoenfontein Game lodge is located about 4.4 kilometers away from the Karoo National Park. It has an outdoor garden from where you can relax, self-contained rooms, a swimming pool, meals are available and each room goes for an average of 52US dollars per night.
Cape Karoo Guest house
The cape Karoo Guest house is located at the edge of the Karoo national Park and it was originally built in the year 1902. It has self-contained rooms, Wi-Fi, private parking, food, swimming pool, they allow pets, a bar and there is also a museum from where you can get to read about the history of the museum and a shop from where you can get souvenirs while on a safari here. Each room at the Cape Karoo Guest house goes for an average price of 35US dollars.
The French Karoo Guest House
The French Karoo Guest House is located just 4.9 kilometers away from the Karoo National Park and a room here goes for an average fee of 41US dollars per night. It provides self-contained accommodation to the tourists with free and private parking, a swimming pool for all guests including children, a restaurant which has both local and international cuisines and excellent service for the guests.
The Bakgat Blyplek
This is just 5 kilometers away from the National Park and is one of the few accommodation facilities that are commonly used by the tourists who visit Karoo National Park. They have self-contained rooms, provide meals that is both local and international cuisines, have Wi-Fi for all their guests and there is free parking space as well. A room at the Bakgat Blyplek goes for an average 35US dollars per night.
The Karoo Heart
This is 6 kilometers away from the National Park and a night here goes for an average of 70US dollars per person and it is a self-catering type of accommodation. The Karoo Heart is in form of an apartment and the rooms are self-contained, have free Wi-Fi, a television set with satellite and a kitchen where you can cook your own meals. It has been operating since 2016 and there is also a garden from where you can relax while enjoying a barbeque.
Getting to Karoo National Park
The Karoo National Park can easily be accessed by a car and this is the best way to get to the Park because you have a lot of views to see while driving before you get to the park. You can however also use air transport to get to the Park especially for tourists who are in a hurry.
- Using air transport
There is an airport that is located close to the National park and it is where you can land after getting a flight from either Cape Town which is about 500 kilometers away from the Park or fly from Johannesburg which is 1000 kilometers away from the Park.
- Using road transport
The Karoo Park is strategically located along the routes leading to the main towns in South Africa that is Johannesburg and Cape Town making it easy to get to.
When to visit the Karoo National Park
The Karoo National Park experiences a semi-arid climate which is not experienced in most of the national Parks that are found in South Africa which means that getting the best time for you to visit the National Park will highly depend on the activities that are carried out while in the Park.
The National Park can be visited all throughout the year but the best time for game drives and hiking is between May to September and the best time for birders is between November and April when the migratory birds fly into the National park.