Karoo National Park

The Karoo National Park is one of the best birding spots in the Karoo. It has a bird list of 204 species including many Karoo specials, a wide range of habitats and beautiful scenery. The park is over 90 000 hectares in extent, of which approximately one quarter is presently accessible to the public. A stay of at least two days is recommended, and in summer a bird list of 100 is possible.



Typical Karoo specials include Ludwig's Bustard, Karoo Korhaan, Cinnamon-breasted Warbler, Short-toed Rock-Thrush, Verreaux's Eagle, Black Stork, Booted Eagle (summer), Common Swift (summer), Tractrac Chat, Sickle-winged Chat, Karoo Long-billed Lark, Layard's Titbabbler, Karoo Eremomela, Rufous-eared Warbler, Chat Flycatcher, African Rock Pipit.



Flat Karooveld and riverine bushes, cliffs and mountainous areas.



Include a good network of roads, a bird hide, self-guided trails, 4x4 trail, night drives, accommodation and caravan park.



Maps, bird lists and directions are available at the reception. Bookings can also be made for night drives.

1. Lammertjiesleegte circular drive (13 km and approx. 2 - 3 hours) is best in the early morning or late afternoon. Birds include typical Karoo specials such as Ludwig's Bustard, Karoo Korhaan, Namaqua Sandgrouse, Namaqua Dove, European Bee-eater (summer), Karoo Long-billed Lark, Karoo Lark, Spike-heeled Lark, Grey-backed Sparrowlark and Black-eared Sparrowlark (nomadic after rains), Tractrac Chat, Sickle-winged Chat, Karoo Chat, Yellow-bellied Eremomela, Rufous-eared Warbler, Chat Flycatcher, Dusky Sunbird and Lark-like Bunting.

2. Klipspringer Pass Drive (12 km and approx. 1½ - 2 hours) is best for Black-headed Canary, Verreaux's Eagle, Steppe Buzzard (summer), African Harrier-Hawk, Rock Kestrel, White-necked Raven, Short-toed Rock-Thrush, Layard's Titbabbler, Cinnamon-breasted Warbler, Grey-backed Cisticola, African Rock Pipit, Grey Tit, Ground Woodpecker, Alpine Swift, Grey-winged Francolin and Long-billed Pipit.

3. The Bird Hide at the little dam near the rest camp produces Lesser Swamp-Warbler, African Reed-Warbler (summer), Greater Striped Swallow, Fairy Flycatcher, South African Shelduck, Redknobbed Coot, Purple Heron (occassionaly), Southern Red Bishop, Moorhen, Little Bittern. (½ - 1 hour).

4. The Caravan Park hosts Southern Tchagra, Acacia Pied Barbet, Bokmakierie, Fairy Flycatcher, Cardinal Woodpecker, Fiscal Flycatcher, Karoo Scrub-Robin, Spotted Eagle-Owl (at night), African Reed-Warbler (summer), Dusky Sunbird and Namaqua Warbler. (1 hour)

5. The Fossil and Bossie trails are short walks near the rest camp with interesting fossils and identified Karoo shrubs. Look out for Karoo Long-billed Lark, Mountain Wheatear, African Rock Pipit, Short-toed Rock-Thrush, Bokmakierie and Grey-backed Cisticola. (1 hour).

6. The Pointer trail (4 km) starts off the Bossie trail and proceeds to a huge hill from which you get magnificient views of the rest camp and the Karoo surroundings. Apart from the beautiful plant species, watch out for African Rock Pipit, Karoo Chat, Long-billed Pipit, Grey-backed Cisticola, Cape Bunting and Layard's Titbabbler. Scan the sky for Verreaux's Eagle, Booted Eagle (summer), African Harrier-Hawk as well as Alpine Swift and African Black Swift. After rains you may get Lark-like Bunting while Karoo Long-billed Lark will also occur. ( 2 hours)

7. Bulskraal Picnic Site has been created for day visitors. It is situated next to the Gamka River at the furthest point of Lammertjiesleegte Drive, and is set amongst karee and sweet thorn trees. The trees host the common Karoo birds such as Karoo Prinia, Fairy Flycatcher, Namaqua Warbler, Fiscal Flycatcher, Southern Tchagra, Redeyed Bulbul, Diderick Cuckoo (summer), Lesser Honeyguide, Cardinal Woodpecker, Pririt Batis, and Karoo Thrush. After rains when there are water pools in the Gamka River, look for Hamerkop, Black Stork, South African Shelduck and Reed Cormorant.

8. Night Drives yield Spotted Eagle-Owl and Rufous-cheeked Nightjar (summer) as well as nocturnal animals. (2 hours).

9. 4x4 Trails (80 km and almost full day) using your own 4x4 or a park vehicle, take you across the mountains and down onto the flats. In the mountainous areas African Rock Pipit is plentiful, with Black Stork, Jackal Buzzard, Ground Woodpecker and Layard's Titbabbler. The upper part of the park supports Martial Eagle, Verreaux's Eagle, African Black Swift, Cape Eagle-Owl and Grey-winged Francolin. Look for Rufous-chested Sparrowhawk in and around the alien poplar trees. On the flats are Karoo Korhaan, Kori Bustard, Ludwig's Bustard, European Bee-eater (summer), Karoo Long-billed Lark, Karoo Lark, Spike-heeled Lark and Large-billed Lark, Namaqua Sandgrouse, Namaqua Dove, Grey-backed Sparrowlark and Black-eared Sparrowlark, Cape Penduline-Tit, Tractrac Chat, Yellow-bellied Eremomela, Karoo Eremomela, Rufous-eared Warbler, Yellow Canary, and Black-headed Canary.



Access is signposted from the N1 about 5km south of Beaufort West. An entrance fee is payable.

A wide variety of accommodation is available in the park, including comfortable self-catering chalets sleeping from 2 to 6 people, and camping. Contact SAN Parks (Tel: 012 3431991 or reservations@sanparks.org.).

Contact Information
Tel +27 (0)23 415 2828 / 9
Fax +27 (0)23 415 1671
Website Karoo National Park Website
Gate Hours 05:00 – 22:00
Reception Hours 07:00 to 19:00

Access to the non-public area of the park is possible by prior arrangement with the park authorities.

Bird Guide
Contact Japie Claassen for info about birding in the park and in the Karoo generally. Tel 023-4142980 / 0837247916
e-mail .

Japie Claassen 2007