Karoo National Park and Steenbokkie Reserve

  • wernher
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9 years 4 weeks ago #9117 by wernher
wernher created the topic: Karoo National Park and Steenbokkie Reserve
I visited the Karoo National Park on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday morning of last week. This was my second visit to the park, the first one being in 2006. The staff were friendly, welcoming and efficient and the facilities clean and in a perfect state of repair, just like in 2006. The scenery is beautiful in a rugged, austere kind of way.

For those of you that have not been there recently, they have built a new 45 km loop road called Potjielekker. It runs from the camp site / interpretive centre area, loops around on the plain and then takes you uphill to the top of Klipspringer pass from where you can drive back via the "old", tarred road down the pass. Potjielekker is accessible in a 2WD sedan in its entirety and is superior to the Lammertjiesleegte loop in my opinion (although Lammertjiesleegte was better for larks).

Although not a great big game destination I saw the following:
Mammals: Grey Duiker, Steenbok, Klipspringer, Kudu, Springbok, Zebra, Red Hartebeest, Gemsbok, Baboon, Striped Mouse, unidentified large rat/gerbil.

Reptiles: various tortoises, 2 lizard species, one snake (all yet to be identified).

Birds: numerous, of which the following were lifers: Karoo Chat, Karoo Long-billed Lark, Fairy Flycatcher, Dusky Sunbird, Pririt Batis, Ground Woodpecker, White-throated Canary, Southern Tchagra, Rock Martin. Also, Karoo Trush as a photo lifer. Also, African Olive Pigeon, but as it was only a brief glimpse and I didn't get a photo I won't tick it.

Then it was on to Steenbokkie Reserve where I stayed over the Thursday night. There are 4 tame Helmeted Guineafowl that mobbed me for food. And when I didn't give them any, they started scratching my tent. This went on for about 30 minutes. The tame Springbok also tore a piece out of my writing pad. (Good eats? Who knew!) Luckily it wasn't my Sasol field guide that got ate! :D

On Friday morning I went out with Japie Claassen. Japie is an excellent guide as I think many others can attest to also. Very relaxed and patient, spots and identifies the tiniest thing at a mile (ok, not quite a mile but you know what I mean), switches off the bakkie when he sees you pointing your camera and so on, meaning it was a great experience birding with him.

Saw the following at Steenbokkie:
Mammals: Springbok (including both black and white mutations), Zebra, Giraffe, Black Wildebeest, Eland, Bat-eared Fox, Steenbok, hare (unidentified).

Bird lifers: Karoo Korhaan, Scaly-feathered Finch, Acacia Pied Barbet. Also Sclater's Lark, but I won't tick it because I couldn't get a photo and they flushed too fast and too far to get a good look. The Sclater's Larks were not going to water at all on the day we went out, which suprised Japie as in his experience they were heavily dependent on water before. He theorised that they might have been watering chicks during the period in which they congregated so heavily around the reserve's water points, but on the day we had to offroad onto the plains to find them.

I struggled to get ok photos during this trip, but here are the few that I am happy to show.

















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  • Peregrinedive
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9 years 4 weeks ago #9124 by Peregrinedive
Peregrinedive replied the topic: Re: Karoo National Park and Steenbokkie Reserve
Sounds like a pretty decent trip you had there. Pity about the Sclater's Lark though...

I for one am glad you have posted your pictures. You should post the others as well, even if they aren't perfect!

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  • Birdlover
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9 years 4 weeks ago #9129 by Birdlover
Birdlover replied the topic: Re: Karoo National Park and Steenbokkie Reserve
Wernher i like your photos posted. Thanks for the info on the Karoo National park. I plan to camp there in the near future. I agree with you about Japie. A great guy and he also knows his birds.

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  • JGB
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9 years 4 weeks ago #9137 by JGB
JGB replied the topic: Re: Karoo National Park and Steenbokkie Reserve
Great photos, sounds like an awsome spot to visit.

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  • wernher
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9 years 4 weeks ago #9140 by wernher
wernher replied the topic: Re: Karoo National Park and Steenbokkie Reserve
Thanks guys.

Philip, I also camped. I think it is important to give credit where it is due and in this case I certainly think it is. Karoo NP is an example of a well-run, well-maintained park. Other advantages are that it is cheap and uncrowded. The other interesting stuff they have like the fossil trail, bossie trail, interpretive centre, two huge, clean swimming pools and the beautiful campsite with its clean ablution facilities to a large extent cancel the only negative; that it doesn't have large volumes of big game nor big predators.

Cheers,
Wernher

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