|The Plains Of Camdeboo|
Formed hundreds of millions of years ago, the Karoo of South Africa is one of the great natural wonders of the world. The Camdeboo National Park with its unique landscape and incredible scenic beauty is part of the Karoo.
A unique feature of the 19.405-hectare park is its location, practically surrounding the historic Karoo town of Graaff Reinet in the Eastern Cape.
|Camdeboo National Park In The Karoo|
At least 225 bird species have been recorded in the park, with an interesting ecotonal mix including species typical of both the Great Karoo and Eastern region avifaunas.
The ostrich is perhaps the most well-known example of a bird adapted to life on the plains – it can cover up to 32km per day.
|Ostrich Freedom in Camdeboo|
The greater portion of the park is situated between 740 and 1480 meters above sea level on the foothills of the Sneeuberg range, while a small section of the low lying-plains is included.
The Camdeboo National Park was proclaimed as South Africa's 22nd National Park under the management of South African National Parks on Sunday 30th October 2005.
Early history of the park includes use of the area by early, middle and later stone age people. Evidence of occupation by these people can be found in the form of stone age industry sites on the south eastern plains of the park.
Artefacts found in these sites include bored stones, percussion-made hand axes, scrapers, blades and grinding stones.
Khoisan hunters and herders left evidence of their occupation during the late stone age in the form of rock paintings in the eastern section of the park.
The Inqua tribe occupied the park area during the mid 1600's, grazing their vast herds of cattle and fat-tailed sheep on the apron veld from the Camdeboo River near Aberdeen, across the Sundays River to Agter-Bruintjieshoogte near Somerset East.
White farmers settled the Camdeboo Plains and Sneeuberg in 1770, introducing merino sheep and angora goats, as well as exotic plants. Over the years overgrazing and the effects of exotic plants have resulted in soil erosion and an increase in woody species or unpalatable plants.
Until the park was first proclaimed as a reserve in 1979, it was used as a town commonage with tenants grazing their livestock and contributing to overgrazing and erosion of some areas.
|The Wheel Of Ages|
Following an extensive process of negotiation and discussion between government, conservation groups, and concerned stakeholders, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, announced the intention to proclaim South Africa's 22nd National Park in the area surrounding Graaff-Reinet. This was made possible by the World Wide Fund for Nature in South Africa (WWF-SA), which donated the 14500 hectare Karoo Nature Reserve to be the centrepiece of the project.
A public consultation process was followed to decide on the new name for the park, culminating in the choice of Camdeboo National Park.
|Long Shadows Travelling With Us|
The Karoo Nature reserve was established in 1979 when the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and the World Wildlife Fund recognised the urgency for conservation measures in the Karoo biome and listed this action as a world conservation priority.
|The Large Nqweba Dam|
The Nqweba Dam lies within the park and covers about 1000 hectares when full. At some places, dolerites form jointed pillars – the best examples of which are found in the Valley of Desolation where erosion of the softer sedimentary beds has left dolerite pillars which rise to heights of 90 – 120 meters.
|Nqweba Dam in Camdeboo National Park|
The vision for the future is ultimately to link the Camdeboo National Park with the Mountain Zebra National Park, protecting a huge diversity of plant and animal species. This will assist in the conservation of the endangered Cape Mountain Zebra. The idea is to create a single mega-conservation area over 120km in length and including up to 520 000 hectares of land under conservation and this will be accomplished in the main by public/private partnerships.
|The Green In The Karoo|