Overview – Camdeboo NP

Philip Briggs
Expert
By Philip Briggs

Philip lives in South Africa and is the author many guidebooks to African destinations, including the Bradt and Insight guide to South Africa.

Philip lives in South Africa and is the author many Africa guidebooks, including the Bradt and Insight guide to South Africa.

Philip is the author of many Africa guidebooks, including the Bradt and Insight guides to South Africa.

Philip is the author of the Bradt and Insight guides to South Africa.

Camdeboo National Park is not a real safari destination. Its main attraction is the scenery and Karoo environment. The park lies at the edge of the historical town of Graaff Reinet. The park offers spectacular views over the Valley of Desolation, where erosion has left dolerite pillars of more than 100m high. A separate section of the park has a very small wildlife-viewing circuit where some herbivores have been stocked. Of the Big 5, only buffalo is present.

Best Time to Go October to March (It is warmer)
High Season October to March (The park gets crowded)
Size 194km² / 72mi²
Altitude 751-1,447m / 2,464-4,747ft

Pros & Cons

  • Spectacular scenery
  • Easy day trip from Graaff Reinet
  • Hiking trails
  • Malaria-free
  • Lots of accommodation options in the historical town Graaff Reinet
  • Very small wildlife-viewing circuit
  • The Valley of Desolation gets busy at sunset

Camdeboo NP Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

Wildlife

The game-viewing area of the park is a small tract of Karoo with one circular circuit. Animals include the endemic Cape mountain zebra and black wildebeest, springbok and red hartebeest. Meerkat and bat-eared fox are some of the small predators common in the Karoo habitat. Of the Big 5, only buffalo is present, and there are no big cats.

Scenery

Camdeboo National Park is all about the scenery. Its proximity to Graaff Reinet offers amazing views over the town. The park is located in the foothills of the Sneeuberg range. The Valley of Desolation with its dolerite rock formations gives a spectacular insight into the Karoo landscape, formed hundreds of millions of years ago.

Weather & Climate

Winter in Camdeboo (May to September) sees cool daytime temperatures and cold evenings. In fact, in June and July, the average morning temperature is a very chilly 4°C/39°F. It can even snow on the park’s higher peaks. It’s warmer in summer (October to April), but the pleasant temperatures are counterbalanced by higher rainfall, particularly in March.

Best Time to Visit

The Dry season (May to September) is usually the best time for wildlife watching in South African parks, due partly to the ease of spotting animals in the thinned-out bush. But at Camdeboo, where the diversity of the wildlife is not exceptional, you might want to try visiting in the wetter months (October to April). The park’s flowers will be in full bloom, it’ll be warm, and some baby animals will be tottering about.

Want to Visit Camdeboo NP?

Camdeboo NP Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
Most Helpful Expert Review
Graaff-Reinet’s Valley of Desolation
3/5

This park practically surrounds the town of Graaff-Reinet and makes for a nice day visit. There are two sections of the park. The Game Viewing area contains a small circuit you can drive in a few hours. The main draw here is the rare Cape...

Latest User Review
4/5

At Camdeboo we especially loved the scenery. Did not see many birds there.