national park in the Eastern Cape, South Africa

Camdeboo National Park is in Karoo Heartland of South Africa. It is most famous for the Valley of Desolation, where breathtaking cliffs and columns of rock form a haven for dozens of birds species.

The towering dolerite rock formations of the Valley of Desolation



The park was established in 1979 as Karoo Nature Reserve and was designated Camdeboo National Park in 2005. It almost completely surrounds the town of Graaff-Reinet. The diversity of the fauna and flora in the park is incredible, attracting over 220 bird species, as well as being home to 43 species of mammal.

Get in


Access to the park is easy from Graaff-Reinet, simply head north from town on Rte 61 or Rte 63. To get to the Valley of Desolation, you can either arrange a tour from one of the tour agencies near the town church, or simply drive it yourself. There is a steep, curving drive to the top of the mountain, with an incredible view of the area. The dry Karoo air means the view is not the least bit hazy. Best go at sundown as the shadows stretch out over the landscape. There is a 45-min hiking trail at the top, and other, longer trails within the park.

Fees and permits


Park entrance costs R160 per adult per day and R80 per child. There are discounts available for South African and Southern African Development Community country residents (bring your passport).

  • Birdwatching – the park is renown for its birdlife, hosting over 220 bird species. These are especially prevalent among the rocks of the Valley of Desolation
  • Hiking – short hiking trails include the Crag Lizard Trail, the Eerstefontein Day Walk and Gideon Scheepers Trail
  • 4x4ing – there are a couple of 4x4 trails, including the Koedoeskloof trail which provides a spectacular view of the landscape



You can stay in Graaff-Reinet, of course, but there is some accommodation within the park.

  • Lakeview Tented Camp – four large furnished tents with individual kitchen facilities and communal bathrooms. Best to book ahead.
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