Frozen in Karoo National Park

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*Originally published 20 July 2012*

Our first experience of camping at Karoo National Park involved snow!

I have to admit that I believe we officially reached our camping limit. I suspect the empty camp site on arrival should have been the first warning sign to reconsider and not our cue to celebrate a long weekend ahead of camping privacy. Perhaps the fact that when we arrived at midday and the temperature was a ballsy 8 degrees Celsius, some alarm bells should have rung. Or maybe we were meant to pay attention when it started drizzling quite soon after lunch time and continued to rain relentlessly for the next 24 hours…

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All I know is that the seven times I woke up shivering during the first night all involved the same contemplative question, “STILL raining?”. When we woke up and nothing had changed and the temperature was zero and everything was soggy and drenched and freezing, we made the call to abandon our pride and upgrade to a chalet. We loaded the car with icy, sopping camping everythings and drove through the sleet downpour to a slightly less compromising dwelling.

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When we were thawed, we attempted the major game route drive until the snow on the mountains got a little too thick, the icy road a little too hairy and the surface run-off a little too intimidating to warrant continuing. In all honesty, This is not how I anticipated experiencing the Karoo! It was truly spectacular in a very unique, once-in-a-lifetime kind of way!

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The top class camp site was sadly redundant and not rain proof, but nonetheless, we had a pleasant enough stay in one of the very well-kitted and comfortable smaller chalets. Karoo National Park has got a lot going for it, but I imagine many folks’ experience on this particular weekend was unfortunately compromised by the weather, which made being outside unbearable and resulted in the closure of the main game drive route. This leaves very little to do besides settling down in bed with a good book or getting horribly drunk to pass time if you forgot to bring one!

 

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