Mitch Reardon worked as a ranger in South Africa and Namibia before becoming a wildlife photographer and writer. The Karoo National Park is conveniently located off the N1, near Beaufort West. The main rest camp has 19 self-catering two-bed chalets, eight six-bed family units, and 10 one bedroom (double-bed) cottages. There are also 24 award-winning camping and caravan sites...
Celebrate our country's history though the lens of some pretty memorable experiences!
Main rest camp & Nuweveld Mountains
Storm clouds loom over the Karoo National Park’s main rest camp. The valley containing the camp is encircled by the Nuweveld Mountains, which form part of the Great Escarpment. This 1 000m step in altitude separates the rolling hills and plains of the Great Karoo from southern Africa’s high-lying Interior Plateau.
The Karoo National Park is one of the Great Karoo’s classic fossil-collection and study sites. Its 400m-long Fossil Trail – a short walk from reception – provides a glimpse into the origins of life on Earth, with displays of skulls, bones and skeletons of extinct wildlife that roamed these plains during the Permian period from roughly 255 million years ago.
[image caption] The Karoo contains a rich record of petrified fossils. This is the head of a Diictodon, a half-metre-long burrowing, mammal-like reptile, which lived in the region during the Permian period 260–250 million years ago.
Karoo National Park also conserves more than 200 bird species, including over 20 breeding pairs of Verreaux’s Eagle. Not long ago journalists wrote of the Karoo’s abiding silences, but now that the hunters’ guns have fallen silent, nature’s sounds have resumed. These days visitors can stop almost anywhere on the plains and hear the deep, froggy croaks of Karoo Korhaans now that they no longer fear ending up in the cooking pot. There are also 18 snake and five tortoise species, plus a wide variety of endemic animals, particularly small reptiles, as well as 121 endemic plant species.
[image caption] A pair of Cape mountain zebras stand before the looming Nuweveld Mountains in Karoo National Park. The top of these peaks would be level with the surrounding plains were it not for a cap of erosion resistant dolerite that for millions of years has protected the softer sedimentary rocks below.
Book extract: Wild Karoo by Mitch Reardon (Struik Nature) R200, available at bookstores nationwide and online via www.penguinrandomhouse.co.za
Lani & Louzel are a mom and daughter cooking duo with an immense passion for the Karoo and its people. They believe one of the best ways Karoo heritage and hospitality can be shared is through food... they celebrate this with their combined talent and love for cooking!
You might recognise them from My Kitchen Rules SA, which they recently competed in and reached the semi-finals! “The MKR SA experience was a remarkable one – but mostly we loved sharing Karoo recipes and methods with the rest of SA. We always felt like mere representatives of a food culture so much greater than ourselves.”
Lani & Louzel now host farm foodie experiences for the public on their family farm Waterval, outside Cradock. The Farm to Table experience includes cooking classes with demos and hands-on training, and food and wine pairing, all-inclusive with two nights' accommodation on the farm.
“People come to stay with us and we teach them some of the generational recipes and techniques we've learned from the grandmothers and great-grandmothers (and -fathers) in our family. It's a Karoo breakaway, through which we aim to teach people a heritage that they can take away and even teach other people.”
Images courtesy of Amy Coetzer Facebook: amy.coetzer
In his second photo collection, KAROO, Louis Botha continues his discovery of the richness, vulnerability and complexity of the Karoo and its people. His first book, SLOW DOWN, look again … is a captivating collection of portrait photographs that captured the intimate moments and details in the simple lives of the people of Northend, a community outside Prince Albert. These photos were taken with a 1950s Hasselblad film camera.
The images in KAROO were taken over 15 years – between 2003 and 2017 – in which Louis (and his dog Raphael) crossed the Karoo to capture the silence, space and timelessness of the region. The collection is a waking call for everyone to preserve this unique and endangered landscape for future generations.