Gecko #81 On The Road Again – Karoo National Park

Karoo National Park is 356 km from Mountain Zebra.   We needed to stock up on supplies and refuel which we did in Graaff-Reinet.   If ever you travel though there don’t miss stopping for a bite to eat at The Blue Magnolia. It is awesome.   We managed to find a double parking place for the caravan and a car guard made sure that it was safely looked after.



The campsite at Karoo National Park is one of the best Sanparks facilities we’ve been to.

We chose #11 which had sufficient shade and was close to the bathrooms.  The sites are set up in a crescent, it is well lit at night, the ablutions are sparkling clean with extra touches like hand wash next to each basin, a full-length mirror and a counter with a lit vanity mirror for doing your hair and make-up.

Gecko 81 happily set up
On our first evening, this female kudu thought she’d join us!  She must have jumped the fence to get in!

The Park was established in 1979 and as it is in the semi-desert Karoo, and like Mountain Zebra, it is very dry.   The scenery, however, is also magnificent.


Like Mountain Zebra this park has similar animals like vervet monkey, springbok, gemsbok, eland and kudu. We enjoyed seeing them all as well as a few extras

Male Kudu


Mountain Zebra of course
Back view of a Chachma Baboon
A dear little steenbok – there were many
Black-backed Jackal – we only saw this one.

The Karoo Korhaan was on our wish list and on the first morning we nearly missed them.   I saw two strange-looking ‘bushes’ and yelled ‘STOP!”  The bushes turned out to be crouched korhaans trying to keep warm.  The temperature at that time was 4 degrees C and only warmed up to 30 much later!

The female Karoo Korhaan
The Male Karoo Korhaan

We did not see as many birds as we would have liked but here are a few that we enjoyed.

The Karoo Chat – saw many
IMG_2214 Karoo Chat 2019-09-15 8-33-28 AM
Mouth open!
White-throated Canary
The Ostriches ruled
Ant-eating chat
Pale-chanting Goshawk


White-backed Mousebird
I’m just not sure about this one – any suggestions?

We did not get an impressive list but for the record here they are

Ostrich, Karoo Korhaan, Karoo Chat, Familiar Chat, White-throated Canary, Karoo Scrub-Robin, Cape Robin-Chat, Dark Capped Bulbul, Southern Masked Weaver, Acacia Pied Barbet, Red-winged Starling, Laughing Dove, Cape Sparrow, House Sparrow, Grey-headed Sparrow, Pale-chanting Goshawk, Double-banded Courser, White-backed Mousebird,

We got back from our morning drive at 11 am today and decided to go to the restaurant for a snack.   They were only open for take-aways so we ordered a chicken wrap each – not bad at all.  We have dined at the restaurant on past visits and find the food excellent.  They serve a very good breakfast too.

Tomorrow we leave the last of the parks we are visiting on this trip.

If you have never done a Sanparks holiday, I don’t want to put you off, because the experience you have in any one of them is wonderful but it is only fair to warn you of the hitches.

In certain parks and camps, the maintenance is bad.  Addo used to be fantastic but since about 2015 we have seen a steady decline.  The roads are not regularly graded – those potholes need to be filled in!   The ablutions are acceptable on the female side but not on the male side.   Drains are blocked and they are not properly cleaned.

Mountain Zebra’s campsite is neat and tidy but their bathrooms need a serious upgrade – the hot water in the showers is erratic and the cubicles too small!  The washing machine in the laundry was broken! Addo didn’t have washing machines at all and that’s okay but if they have them, please Sanparks,  keep them in working order!

Karoo National Park was such a surprise. Everything was spotless and everything worked.  The communal kitchen had boiling water on tap, lovely cooking facilities and a fridge and freezer for the use of the campers. The bathrooms are functional, clean and there is even an arrangement of flowers to pretty it up.   The laundry washing machine and dryer work!

If Karoo NP can do it – so can the others!   It’s all to do with good management.  So well done Karoo National Park!






















































Published by puppy1952

I am making the most of the South African Lifestyle and hope with my blog to share some of the adventures my husband and I are having in our retirement. We live at the Southern Tip of Africa in the small coastal town of Struisbaai. Earl and I have a Gecko off-road caravan and we travel around South Africa frequently. We are bird and wild life enthusiasts so are often in game reserves.

4 thoughts on “Gecko #81 On The Road Again – Karoo National Park

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