We did the short drive from the town of Graaff Reinet to Camdeboo National Park at 8:30am or so before it got too hot out. They were calling for a high of 33C (92F), and we wanted to do a short hike and see some of the animals.
The town of Graaff Reinet is pretty much surrounded by the National Park. There are two main attractions to the park, the Valley of Desolation, and the game drive.
Graaf Reinet, surrounded by Camdeboo National Park.
We paid the reasonable R80 ($8.40) per person entry fee for the day. I say reasonable, but international visitors pay approximately double what South Africans pay. Plus, this park is one of the cheaper ones, probably because they don't have lions and elephants.
First thing we saw after we got through the gates...
Why did the tortoise cross the road?
To get to the other side!
Apparently there are five different species of tortoise in the park. We think this one is a leopard tortoise, but if so he was a big one!
We carried on up the paved road to the top. Pretty much first gear all the way! Good thing it was paved because it was pretty steep in places.
Our little rental car, parked near the top.
Then, a short hike to the viewpoint.
Considering this is a popular tourist area, we were surprised that we were the only ones there! The gates open at 6:00am, so we figured for sure that by 8:30am it would be getting busy. Apparently not.
Beautiful view of the town of Graaf Reinet.
We enjoyed that view for a little while and then went back down to the car and drove even higher up to where the Valley of Desolation viewpoint is. Parked the car again, and set off on a 2.5 km (1.6 mile) hike along the top ridge. We took our time and enjoyed the views and the odd bit of wildlife.
Dolerite columns in the Valley of Desolation.
A little lizard enjoying the morning sun.
Ruth, trying not to get too close to the edge.
Kevin, trying not to get too close to the edge!
We thought it was odd that sometimes there were railings.
And sometimes there weren't!
This was a strange looking grasshopper! Bigger than 2" long, and only black and red in color. Wish we could have got a better picture.
Another lizard catching some rays.
Kevin, showing you the Karoo Desert.
We made our way back to the parking area, and by the time we left it was about 11:00am. Now, we saw a few other cars but still not nearly as busy as we expected. We then headed back down the hill and across the highway to the game viewing area. This is a series of trails where you simply drive around looking for animals. Like a safari, except there aren't any lions or elephants! But there are still some interesting things to see...
These are called vervet monkeys.
There's usually a group of about a dozen individuals.
This mom was moving along pretty quickly, but that doesn't stop baby from taking a drink!
Cute little guy. Mom was sitting on top of him cleaning his fur.
We had fun watching the monkeys! We drove on, and came around a bend where we startled a group of ostriches! They ran quickly, but not before I snapped a photo...
Such funny looking birds!
A storm moving in.
A group of eland (we think!) antelope looking at us.
A young fish eagle.
At this point we were hungry and it was pretty hot and humid. We drove back to our guest house and relaxed for the afternoon. Then, at 5:00pm we headed out again to make full use of our day pass!
Rainbow in the distance
Kudu sure have big ears!
The black wildebeest is one ugly looking dude!
It was raining all around us.
And we could see it was headed our way.
And sure enough, right when we got back to the guesthouse with intentions of doing another braai, it started pouring! Had to cook the chicken indoors. Not quite as good as the braai, but it was still delicious.
We had a good day!