Summertide Diary: Arriving in the Karoo

16 December 2020

From our home in Pretoria the shortest route to the Karoo National Park in the Western Cape Province is a distance of roughly 1000km, almost all of it along the N1 national highway. With Marilize still having to work the morning of the 15th of December, we opted to depart home by midday that Tuesday and break our journey at Bloemfontein, a historic city almost smack in the middle of our beautiful country.

We rise early on the 16th of December, a public holiday in South Africa, at the cosy A Little Guesthouse on the outskirts of Bloemfontein. The sun is just starting to peak over the eastern horizon as we tackle the final leg of our journey to the Karoo National Park. With Joubert’s grade 5 geography syllabus, freshly concluded, including a few South African landmarks, we take a detour to one of the them – the Gariep Dam, South Africa’s biggest man-made lake, located at the border between the Free State and Eastern Cape provinces.

The Gariep Dam

Just after midday we arrive at the entrance gate to the Karoo National Park, a most welcome sight after the long drive.

After quickly checking in, thoroughly sanitizing every corner of our accommodation unit (oh, the joys of travelling in the time of COVID-19, and yes the Park staff do sanitize the units before you arrive, we are just very cautious) and unpacking the luggage we waste no further time in starting our explorations of the vast national park. Our route of choice for the afternoon is the delectably-named Potlekkertjie-loop – this being the local name for a kind of lizard, translating into English as “little pot licker” – and ending with the Klipspringer Pass leading back to camp.

Arriving back at camp, we can relax on the stoep (verandah) of Chalet 28, reveling in the beautiful view and visits from a variety of creatures. The holiday we’ve been looking forward to for so long has finally arrived…

If you’d like to learn more about the Karoo National Park, have a read through this earlier post of ours detailing the natural and man-made features of the Park.

Map of the Karoo National Park showing Potlekkertjie Loop, Klipspringer Pass and Lammertjiesleegte, from the official guide book published by SANParks

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