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Birding in the Karoo National Park, Beaufort West

Karoo National Park Cottages

The Karoo National Park, near Beaufort West,  is not only an excellent stop on the N1 between Cape Town and Johannesburg but offers birders an excellent selection of Karoo specials. In addition, there is the added bonus of viewing the quagga, once extinct but now  miraculously recreated from portions of its genetic code taken from a mounted museum exhibit….amazing!

Additionally two of South Africa’s most highly endangered species, the riverine rabbit and the black rhinoceros have also been “brought home”. There is a wide variety of indigenous buck, mountain zebra, wildebeest, wild ostrich and five tortoise species – the most in any conservation area in the world. Because of the sparse vegetation game viewing in the Karoo National Park is really easy.

Now down to birding – there are over 200 bird species and an excellent selection of Karoo specials. including Karoo Korhaan, Ludwig’s Bustard, Namaqua Sandgrouse, Cinnamon Breasted Warbler, African Rock Pipit, Short-toed Rock-thrush, Cape Eagle Owl, Ground Woodpecker and over 20 breeding pairs of Verreaux’s eagle. Other birds of prey to watch out for include the Booted Eagle, Jackal Buzzard, Pale Chanting Goshawk and Rock Kestrel.

Ground Woodpecker, Karoo National ParkEver present are Pied Barbet, Red-eyed Bulbul, Karoo and Cape Robin, Titbabbler, Layard’s Titbabbler, Yellow-bellied Eremomela, Palewinged Starling, Lesser Double-collared sunbird, Dusky Sunbird and Redheaded Finch. The camp is a good place to start and there is a bird hide at the dam near main rest camp. We spotted our first Ground Woodpecker in this park.

There are excellent accommodation options and park facilities. Please call the camp at Tel +27 (0)23 415 2828 or E-mail: brian.vanderwesthuizen@sanparks.org for bookings. Visit the Karoo National Park website for more information.

More info on the town of Beaufort West More info on the Central Karoo area

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