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Smaller South African National Parks-Camdeboo.
A small gem in the Karoo
Camdeboo National Park – South Africa
A lesser known small National Park situated in the Eastern Cape.
Only 20 000 ha in size, located near the historical town of Graaff-Reinet, this reserve consists of an flat area around the Nqweba Dam and the startling picturesque Valley of Desolation. Altitude at the dam is 740 m and on the nearby mountain top over 1500m. The vegetation is grassland, scrubland and succulent thicket.
The wild life consists of a variety of game such as Kudu, Mountain Zebra, Buffalo and Eland and several types of mongoose. Baboons and Vervet monkeys and Bat-eared foxes share the mountain slopes and grass land.
Ostrich are often spotted next to the road while the breeding Verreaux’s Eagle competes with Martial Eagles and African Fish Eagle for the skies. Several big birds like Karoo Korhaan, Kori Bustard and the quant Secretary Bird patrol the grass lands.
Along the steep pathway from the car park to the viewpoint overlooking the Valley of Desolation the various bushes and plants have been identified and information about their use by the early inhabitants documented. This alone makes a visit worthwhile.
Crossberry (Umnqabaza-Xhosa): The bark of this tree was used by the Zulu’s to dress wounds after it had been softened by hammering and soaked in hot water. The wood was used by the Xhosa to make spear handles and by the San for bows.
Blue Guarri (Umgwali-Xhosa): The leaves used to make cough medicine while the roots were used to produce a dye for basket making.
It is however the spectacular views from the top of the mountain overlooking the Karoo landscape and the town of Graaff-Reinet that in my opinion is the high light.
The bird list of over 220 species makes it a good birding venue and several Karoo rarities can be added to your list with a bit of luck.