Explore the wonders of the Karoo at Camdeboo

Posted by Aimee Pace on 23 November 2018

Formed millions of years ago, the Karoo is one of the great natural wonders of the world. Camdedoo National Park is a gateway for visitors to enter into this unique landscape and ecosystem – and has some pretty spectacular views, too.

A gate fee gets you access to this treasure trove of flora and fauna and once you’re in the adventure begins:

South African citizens & Residents (with ID) R39 per person, per day
R20 per child per day
SADC Nationals (with passport) R77 per adult, per day
R39 per child per day
Standard Conservation Fee (Foreign Visitors): R113 per adult, per day
R57 per child, per day

Camdedoo has a lot going for it in addition to its scenery – it’s many hiking routes are a big pull for active souls who want to explore. Popular paths include the Crag Lizard Trail, a 45-minute walk that starts at the parking area in the Valley and traverses one-and-a-half kilometres along the Valley past various viewpoints. The route is marked with the Crag Lizard logo.

The Eerstefontein Day Walk starts and ends at the Spandaukop gate. There are three routes: the five-kilometre, 11-kilometre and 14-kilometre, with rest spots at Eerstefontein and Agtersfontein.

One of the most famous attractions at Camdeboo is the Valley of Desolation, which attracts roughly 100,000 people every year. The road at the top of the valley was tarred in 1978 and provides visitors with easy access to viewpoints of the landscape.

The piled-up dolerite columns that stand against the backdrop of the Great Karoo are said to be the product of the erosive and volcanic forces of nature over eons.

Visitors to Camdeboo can connect even more closely with nature from the tented camps. There are fifteen caravan or tent sites situated beneath thorn trees on gravel at the Nqweba campsite. Each site is equipped with their own braai unit and power point. The communal camp kitchen provides a deep freeze, stove top and microwave facilities, while the communal ablutions have showers and toilets.

Another option is the Lakeview Tented Camp, which offers raised ‘permanent’ tents on wooden platforms. Each tent sleeps two people and has a braai unit, fridge, table, and two chairs. Bedding and towels are provided.

Other activities nearby include 4×4 tracks, game and bird viewings, water sports and visiting designated picnic spots. Cambedoo is well-known for its diverse wildlife, from vervet monkeys to steenbok, springbok, blesbok, and Cape mountain zebra.

The park is not yet completely disabled-friendly but plans for a new accessible pathway to the Valley of Desolation are being considered.

This unique nature reserve will also soon be home to a giant South African flag measuring 66-hectares and made of desert plants, succulents and cacti indigenous to the Karoo, in the colours of South Africa’s national flag.

The flag will be visible from space – not a modest project. Over its two-year, three-phase development, it is expected to cost around R180-million but bring 700 permanent “green-collar” jobs to people in the nearby community.

Those looking to help make this amazing project a reality can donate here.


Picture: Tyson Jopson/JasonJed.photo


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