The Karoo: Mount Camdeboo

Mount Camdeboo is tucked away in the Karoo desert. If you’re looking for somewhere to tag yourself on Facebook, it’s not where you should be. If you’re chasing after a once in a lifetime adventure, then Mount Camdeboo is perfect.

Photo Credit to Abby Van Ess Photography 

Mount Camdeboo private game reserve serves to work around its guests.

Photo credit to Abby Van Ess Photography – link to her blog at the bottom

Mount Camdeboo is celebrating its tenth anniversary and the journey hasn’t been an easy one. Trial and tribulation mixed with a lot of hard work has built the business a strong clientele basis, and many who come once, return time and time again. It takes time to build up a reserve such as Camdeboo. Originally farm houses and land, the dream quickly became to uplift local people while creating a centre of excellence in land conservation.

The reserve has wildlife to support their vision – introducing game that was originally on the reserve paves the way for conservation of many endangered species. Les Slabbert, head ranger, said, ‘The world is getting smaller and smaller and it’s the wildlife that suffers first.’ Cape Mountain Zebra, Ostrich, Giraffe are just a few species that roam the reserve with the crown jewel of the collection being the cheetah. Spending time in a reserve such as this serves as a huge reminder that the world is much bigger than where we live. There’s many more ways of living than what many of Mount Camdeboo guests are used to. Mount Camdeboo has become a place to expand awareness of the world around us – to witness something beyond the normal.

Photo Credit to Abby Van Ess Photography

The transformation of 14,000 hectares has required perseverance – whether it has been opposition from neighbours on the game brought in, or ensuring the successful breeding of a species. Changes are still being made, with management determined to make Mount Camdeboo the very best it can be.



Guests stay in luxury. The houses are restored Cape Dutch houses and carry the original architecture design only found in the Karoo. There are three of these homes, which house between eight and ten guests at a time. There are separate houses too that are more private, for the couple seeking a special getaway or a family seeking that break from civilisation. A current project in the works is the development of events held at Mount Camdeboo. There is plenty of room for weddings and birthdays to be held here, giving an experience that you will be unlikely to forget.

Photo Credit to Abby Van Ess Photography

When speaking to the rangers about their favourite aspect of the reserve, a common answer is the silence. There truly is nothing like it. Away from hectic civilisation, the silence becomes bliss. With the occasional call from the wildlife, it’s a true retreat into nature.

Personalised game drives are a unique selling point. Guests can pinpoint the specific animal they wish to see, and the rangers work hard to ensure guests have their dreams fulfilled.

Even when not on a game drive, tracking the wildlife, the wonder of the Karoo is enough to sustain the guests. Nestled in between all accommodation is a communal area where a traditional African Braai is served for all guests – this is similar to a barbeque, with food cooked over an open fire. With the Boma – fire pit – looking over the river, wildlife can be spotted. Look out for the occasional rhino or warthog. That’s not where the wonder stops.

Photo credit to Gretchen Marie Photography

Look upwards. The stars of the Karoo desert are something to behold. It’s not usually possible to take a step back from our day-to-day lives and pause. Yet here, the Milky Way can be seen. Shooting stars are common, and the beauty of the sky above is something that no one can get used to. As Mary Anne Radmache once said, ‘I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.’

Photographers; (featured image also)


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