Karoo National Park | Karoo National Park Outdoor Activities | Nuweveld 4x4 Eco Trail | Karoo National Park Wildlife | Accommodation in Beaufort West
The Nuweveld 4x4 Eco Trail within the Karoo National Park provides an opportunity for visitors to experience a new area of the almost 90 000-hectare Karoo National Park. Routes are open only to visitors with 4x4 vehicles.
(See also Encounter Magazine`s comprehensive guide on 4x4 adventures in South Africa.)
The Nuweveld Trail follows a 90-kilometre route into the western section of the Park, starting off the relatively new Potlekkertjie Loop. Approximately 50 kilometres of this trail is a Grade one 4x4 trail with some steep, rocky sections and sandy dry river crossings.
The first section of the Nuweveld Trail travels through riverine thicket before heading onto the plains and then climbing onto the foothills of the Nuweveld Mountains. The route then heads onto the lower plains in the Sandrivier area, before linking up again with the Potlekkertjie Loop via the Afsaal Trail.
About 20 kilometres from the start of the trail, visitors will find the Embizweni Cottage which provides an ideal place for an overnight stay in a remote and tranquil location.
Embizweni Cottage has spectacular views of the Nuweveld Mountains to the east and the area is frequented by large herds of eland, gemsbok and individual black rhino. Cape mountain zebra, red hartebeest and kudu can also be seen as well as Verraux’s eagle and kori and Ludwig’s bustard.
The cottage provides fully-equipped accommodation for six people with a gas-powered stove, fridge and geysers as well as solar-powered lights. A fireplace in the living room provides a cosy atmosphere in winter. “ “Embizweni” was named for the Xhosa word for ‘a place where people come together’.
Visitors can enjoy the Nuweveld Route free of charge. A stay in Embizweni Cottage is very affordable with rates starting from R600-00 for four people.
Because of the sparse vegetation, game viewing in Karoo National Park is easily facilitated.
Large herbivores such as Red Hartebeest, Black Wildebeest, Eland, the two zebra species, kudu and springbok are all regularly seen. Klipspringer are regularly seen on the pass of the same name. Other species are less obvious due to smaller size, nocturnal habits or restriction to the wilderness areas of the park.
Karoo National Park has a very rich reptilian fauna. Of particular significance are the 5 species of tortoise. However there is also a terrapin, an agama, 2 chameleons, a monitor, 18 snakes and several geckos, skinks and lizards.
Things to Seek:
- Black Eagle – with around 20 pairs of these eagles breeding, the park can lay claim to one of the highest densities of this regal species in Africa
- Tortoises – the park hosts 5 different species, the highest density of species per equivalent area anywhere in the world
- Cape Mountain Zebra – this species came close to extinction early in the 20th Century. It is well established in the park and visitors have the opportunity to compare its bold stripe pattern to that of the “quagga” strain
- Springbok – the emblem of the park and present in high numbers. This is a reminder of the once massive herds that crossed the Karoo on annual migration that could stretch for several kilometres.
Please note daily conservation levies are payable. Please see details of Conservation Fees.