Karoo National Park

The Karoo National Park is situated within the vast plains of the Great Karoo. While most of the wildlife has been eradicated from land, the Karoo National Park is a protected area where animals can roam free and their habitats remain untouched by man. This is a place of striking landscapes, diverse flora and breathtaking sunsets. This is an excellent place for nature lovers and bird watchers to explore the wilderness and experience the incredible silence of the natural land.

  • Best Time to Go

    August - September, April - May

  • Average Safari Cost

    $150-$700 pp/day. Park fee: $16 (adult), $8 (child).

  • Highlights

    Klipspringer's Pass, Fossil Trail, 4x4 eco-trails, game drives and night drives, stunning scenery and sunsets.

Why Visit Karoo National Park

While the Karoo National Park isn't a top wildlife viewing destination, it is still well worth a visit. This harsh environment is home to a diverse array of wildlife and birdlife to see. Plenty of antelope, zebra and dassies can be seen, as well as small klipspringers at the Klipspringer's Pass. You may even see lions, which have been brought into the park. Game drives and night drives offer incredible opportunities of viewing the wildlife in the park.

The park offers stunning scenery, striking landscapes and incredible photographic opportunities. See the stark, barren land transform into a radiant expanse of orange and pink as the sun slowly sets. A visit to the Karoo National Park is a rewarding experience and a chance to see true beauty in nature.

Pros and Cons

  • Fossil Trail
  • Lovely scenery
  • Good game viewing
  • Excellent birdwatching
  • Night drives and walking safaris
  • Lacks many wildlife species seen in other parks
  • Very hot climate

Best Time to Go

While the wildlife viewing in the Karoo National Park is consistent throughout the year, the best time to visit is from August to September and from April to May. These are the months when temperatures are milder as extreme temperatures occur in summer and winter. August to September is spring and the scenery in the park is at its best during this time.

Winter occurs during the dry season, which is from May to September. Temperatures can drop below 37˚F (3˚C) at night while days range between 63˚F(17˚C) to 72˚F (22˚C). October to April is the wet season and is very hot. Temperatures during the day average 82˚F (28˚C), but can sometimes exceed 104˚F (40˚C). Rains are unpredictable and often occur during storms, which can be disruptive to activities in the park. This is the best time for bird watching as migrant species can be found.

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Wildlife and Birds

The Karoo National Park is home to a wide variety of antelope species. Kudu, red hartebeest, eland, springbok and klipspringer can be seen grazing the land. If you're very lucky you may catch sight of a lion or black rhino, as both of these animals have been reintroduced into the land. Keep a look out for cute, inquisitive meerkats standing on their hind legs as well as dassies as they scuttle across the grounds. This park is also a great birding destination with over 200 recorded species.
List of Animals
  • Lion
  • Black Rhino
  • Kudu
  • Spingbok
  • Warthog
  • Wildebeest
  • Zebra

Rare Animals

  • Lion, black rhino

Common Animals

  • Zebra, wildebeest, eland, springbok, red hartebeest, kudu

The Karoo National Park is an excellent birding destination with may special species to keep an eye out for. There are many birds of prey to see, including black eagles, pale chanting goshawks, jackal buzzards and rock kestrels. Water birds can easily be seen from the bird shelter at the park's dam.

Endangered birds:

  • Ludwig's bustard, Cape vulture, black harrier

Endemic birds:

  • Cape francolin, Karoo lark

Getting There and Safety


The best way to get to the Karoo National Park is to fly to Cape Town International Airport or O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg as the park is situated in between the two major cities. A domestic flight to George Airport, which is closer to the park, can then be organised or you can self-drive to the park.

For the flights to South Africa, it is advised to check Skyscanner (for multiple destination flights), to see which airlines can take you there and compare various ticket prices.

If you are based in the UK and Europe, check out these flights to South Africa.

If you are based in the USA and Canada, check out these flights to South Africe.


All foreign visitors must have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months after their visit. Most nationalities may obtain a 90-day entry permit upon arriving in the country. You can find out whether you need to apply for a visa in advance or obtain one upon arrival on South Africa's Department of Home Affairs website.

For more information on visas see our South Africa Safari - Complete Country Guide.


Check with your local medical authority which vaccinations are necessary. The recommended vaccinations for South Africa are: Diphtheria, human papillomavirus, meningococcal, pertussis, pneumococcal, shingles and tetanus. Depending on which areas you travel to in the country, the following may also be necessary: hepatitis A and B, typhoid and rabies.

There is also risk for malaria within some regions of South Africa so check whether you will need to take anti-malarial medication.

Check your local travel health authority for more information:

Travel Insurance

Going on a safari in Africa comes with obvious risks. We recommend you get travel insurance for all safaris in South Africa. Make sure your insurance has full medical coverage, emergency air evacuation, repatriation and the standard travel insurance for cancellations, delays and luggage cover.

Check World Nomads’ travel insurance calculator to see the cost of your safari trip cover.

What to Pack

Pack clothes for both warm and cool weather as it can get very hot during the day and quite cold at night depending on what time of the year you go. Try to pack neutral, earthy toned clothes and avoid bright colours and white. Other essential items are a hat, sunglasses, sun screen, toiletries, closed shoes, torch, batteries, insect repellent, first aid kit, binoculars and camera.

For more details on what to pack see our Safari Packing List.

Drinking Water
The water is safe to consume within the Karoo National Park.
Self-Driving Safari
A 4x4 vehicle is advised for any self-driving safari at Karoo National Park, as there are many roads and 4x4 trails in the park that can only be accessed with a 4x4 vehicle.