Day 20 – Karoo National Park

The Karoo National Park has an arid kind of beauty, with large koppies, buttes and mesas rising up suddenly from an otherwise very flat area. Our chalet was nestled inside a ring of these koppies, producing awe-inspiring views in all directions.  We had a tasty braai of Karoo lamb chops bought from the Beaufort West Pick n Pay. They were just as tasty as we remembered from our last visit! Erica crossed another little milestone when she stood and held her own liqui-fruit carton to sip from the straw!
The park is home to many types of grazers, mostly buck and most noteworthy the white rhino. We’ve already seen everything at Kruger so didn’t waste time trying to spot elusive wildlife. Instead we just took a short drive to the top of one of the koppies to admire the view. On the way we did spot both Burchell’s and Cape Mountain Zebra, Red Hartebeest and lots of Springbok. Amazing how they can actually live in this arid desertscape.
The next morning we took an early walk along the short fossil trail, where exhibits of various fossil finds are displayed, all discovered in the surrounding area. One of the glass cases was missing, so we had the opportunity to touch a 300 million year old Bradysaurus. It’s incredible to think that this creature was walking around grazing the ancient foliage millions of years ago, when the advent of humans was a distant and unlikely possibility. Apparently the Karoo was rich with flora and fauna in those days, lush vegetation and water everywhere. An environmental event of some kind caused most of the plant life to die out and along with it, the large animals which depended on it for survival.
Our chalet had a full kitchen and bathroom, and other than Hluhluwe/Imfolozi was arguably the best accommodation of our trip. It costs R635 for the chalets although the camp sites are a lot less and equally well-appointed. Little Erica loved the headboard of the beds here – always the most interesting aspect of each place for her so we have taken to calling her our little headboard tourist.  We managed to remember to take our two-prong adapter with us this time. Unbelievably, we have already lost 3 sets of adapters moving from place to place. A real issue when you have cameras, laptops, cellphones and camping lights which need to be charged.
We stayed in the tree-shaded campsites two years ago when we passed through the Karoo. It sold us on SANParks when we saw the well-maintained ablutions and the well-run facilities, and we decided we would definitely come back, and we were not dissappointed.