Tag Archives: Karoo National Park

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.

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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.

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Gecko 81 happily set up

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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.

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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

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Male Kudu

 

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Mountain Zebra of course

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Back view of a Chachma Baboon

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A dear little steenbok – there were many

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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!

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The female Karoo Korhaan

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The Male Karoo Korhaan

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

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The Karoo Chat – saw many

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Mouth open!

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White-throated Canary

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The Ostriches ruled

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Ant-eating chat

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Pale-chanting Goshawk

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White-backed Mousebird

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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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Stream of Consciousness Saturday – Blue

Linda asks us to write about the first blue thing we see as we sit down to write from today’s prompt – BLUE

And strangely I am surrounded by quite a few blue things.  A tablecloth on my picnic table, the chair I am sitting on and the sky as I am sitting outside my caravan in The Karoo National Park.

I always pack a table cloth when I go camping although I seldom use one at home – preferring to use placemats on my table or counter there.  But when picnicking in the bush you need to cover the outdoor tables in picnic spots as they’re not too clean!   Back at camp the table cloth just makes you the area look prettier.

Unfortunately, I have lost one or two table cloths through carelessly forgetting to remove them from the picnic site table and once at a self-catering cottage!  I am more careful now.

I am very fond of this particular table cloth which I spotted at a  craft stall at a  garden show in Kokstad.  It’s home-made and of very good quality.

Both The Earl and I have blue camping chairs.  They go with us everywhere and are very comfortable.  They’re the first things removed from the caravan before we set up.  First, they hold the canopy poles and then us as we enjoy a bitterly cold drink after the effort!

I am grateful to have the clear, blue sky as rainy days aren’t much fun when you’re camping!   The early mornings are crispy cold but clear but by 10 o’clock it is lovely and warm here in The Karoo National Park.

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Blue table cloth, blue chair, blue sky and even the dish towel covering the plastic sink is blue!