Click here for Camdeboo National Park Accommodation
Located in the foothills of the Eastern Cape Sneeuberge Mountains with the great Karoo as a backdrop, the Camdeboo National Park is home to the world famous Valley of Desolation - a magnificent geological feature formed hundreds of millions of years ago. Evidence of its ancient beginnings are etched in the prehistoric fossils which lie on the valley floor, as well as in artifacts which bear witness to Camdeboo National Park's stone age occupation. The Khoisan, known as 'Africa's first people', have also left their mark in the painted rock shelters in the East of the Camdeboo National Park.
When standing on a view point overlooking the spectacular Eastern Cape Camdeboo plains, the dolerite pillars of the Valley of Desolation rise up like gnarled fingers pointing at the sky. These jagged obelisks which frame the southern slopes of the Camdeboo National Park escarpment were formed when the softer sedimentary bedrock eroded away, leaving the stark pillars stretching to heights of 120 metres.
Proclaimed a National Monument in 1935, the breathtaking scenic beauty of the Camdeboo National Park Valley of Desolation is one of the great natural wonders of the world. Also known as the 'Cathedral of Mountains', this imposing area of the Eastern Cape inspires a humbling sense of awe with it's towering peaks, carpets of spring flowers and sublime stillness bringing one close to the Divine.
Camdeboo - this spectacular, arid Eastern Cape environment is a photographers dream, and playground to adventure lovers who love wide open, expansive landscapes, and seek the thrill of rugged mountain biking and 4x4 trails which take drivers to the top of the Eastern Cape Winterhoek Mountain plateau. Along the way look out for Cape mountain zebra (an endangered species), blesbok, kudu, mountain reedbuck, klipspringer and baboons.
Those who prefer their feet firmly on the ground will enjoy the Camdeboo National Park hikes along one of the short or long hiking trails. Camdeboo bird viewing is in abundance, with sightings of over 250 bird species which include ostriches, southern pale chanting goshawks, lesser honeyguides, speckled mousebirds, brown-hooded kingfishers, and of course, the mighty black eagle which soars above the Camdeboo landscape.
For the watersport enthusiast, the Nqweba Dam lying within the Eastern Cape Camdeboo National Park covers over 1 000 hectares when full, and provides 'cool' fun for the whole family with boating, canoeing and windsurfing. The avid fisherman will delight in the Camdeboo Nqweba Dam fish selection, as moggel, common carp, African catfish, mullet, round herring, mosquito fish and river goby are plentiful.
If you're in the Eastern Cape Camdeboo National Park area around March, don't miss the annual 'Camdeboo Dam Day', which features the 'Anything That Floats' competition, where contestants create a home-built float and race each other on the Camdeboo Nqweba Dam for a whole lot of fun.
There are only a few places to lay your head in Camdeboo National Park, and in keeping with the 'down to Earth' character of the Eastern Cape Valley of Desolation, Camdeboo National Park Game Reserve Accommodation at Lakeview Tented Camp offers rustic furnished tents which provide a relaxed, nature experience, and caravan and camping sites situated beneath the thorn trees at Nqweba Campsite. (See the WhereToStay Camdeboo Accommodation page for more info)
The Camdeboo National Park is unique in that it embraces the historic Eastern Cape town of Graaff Reinet, which lies in a bend of the Sundays River in the shadow of the rocky Sneeuberg Mountains. This little Eastern Cape village known as the 'gem of the Karoo' is well worth a visit, not least because of its preservation of the character of a typical 19th century town with over 200 buildings claimed as National Monuments, including some of the original slave cottages. For overnight lodgings, Graaff Reinet Accommodation offers Graaff Reinet Bed & Breakfast Accommodation at Aa'Qtansisi Guest House - the name ' Aa'Qtansisi' derived from the authentic, original Khoisan language meaning "we welcome you". Or, stay in traditional Graaff Reinet Self Catering Accommodation which upholds the towns 'old worlde' tradition.
Further North (67.8km from Camdeboo Accommodation) lies the charming little Eastern Cape town of Nieu-Bethesda, set in a picturesque and fertile valley dominated by the magnificent Eastern Cape Compassberg as a backdrop. The village has become a popular retreat for artists, and because of its unique appeal, this is a place that no visitor should miss.
Stay in Nieu-Bethesda Bed & Breakfast Accommodation where you can relax on the stoep and watch village life pass by at the unhurried pace of bygone times. For longer Easatern Cape accommodation stays, discover Africa's outback at Weltevreden Guest Farm - Nieu-Bethesda Accommodation tucked away in the folds of the Eastern Cape Sneeuberg Mountains. Weltevreden Guest Farm is also Eastern Cape Pet Friendly Accommodation, who will welcome both you and your furry friends.
The best time to visit the Camdeboo accommodation is during spring when the wildflowers are blooming. The summer months between October to April can reach temperatures around 38.6°C, while in winter (May to September), temperatures can drop to -0.3°C.
It is important to know that the Eastern Cape Camdeboo National Park weather can suddenly change, with summer thunder storms bringing on cool weather in the higher Easatern Cape mountain regions.