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Why did we hand pick Mount Camdeboo Private Game Reserve?

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  • Luxuriously restored original homesteads from a bygone era
  • Beautiful escape into mountainous Karoo backcountry
  • A variety of game on the reserve, including cheetah

Mount Camdeboo Private Game Reserve

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Price tier (pps): R200  R1500+

Child policy: All ages

60km from Graaff-Reinet


-32.3353, 24.9212


Mount Camdeboo encompasses a unique, majestically silent area of towering mountains and sweeping plains, far removed from the frenzy of modern life. 

The dramatic landscapes play host to wildlife such as cheetah and smaller wild cats, white rhino, buffalo, sable and other antelope, ensuring that the twice-daily game drives leave long-lasting impressions on guests.

In addition to varied fauna and flora, the area is rich in prehistoric history, with the Camdeboo Plains holding some of South Africa’s largest fossil beds. The reserve also had a pivotal role to play in the Anglo-Boer War, and on one of the drives you are taken to the site of the Battle of Paardefontein, the skirmish in which famous Boer commander Johannes Lötter was captured.

The three Cape Dutch manors at Mount Camdeboo have a history stretching back even further than this, with the first having been built in the 1700s. Originally settler homesteads, each manor has been renovated to accommodate guests in refined luxury without losing touch with the colourful heritage of their first residents. Features such as reed ceilings and Oregon pine floorboards are carried over from these bygone times, and are complemented by top-quality country-style furnishings and modern facilities.

All of the manors feature their own private swimming pools, rooms with King-size beds and facilities such as air-conditioning and heating, to ward off both the scorching summer heat and the crisp winter nights. The lush gardens are little oases in the semi-arid wilderness, providing ample shade in which to lounge. Spacious communal lounges have satellite television and fireplaces, while wireless internet is available wherever you choose to stay.

Camdeboo Manor offers four luxurious bedrooms that feature lounges and doors opening onto the courtyard, gardens and a pool. A fifth smaller room has no seating area and offers indirect access to the grounds.

The double-gabled Courtyard Manor is ideal for group bookings and guests here have the option of self-catering. A shopping list can be sent to management in advance, allowing you to arrive at the house with the cupboards stocked with everything you need. Alternatively, delicious Karoo country cuisine can be ordered and enjoyed in either the outdoor or indoor dining areas. A two hour sundowner game drive is included in the rates for self-caterers.

Situated alongside a dam higher up on the slopes of the Sneeuberg Mountains, the modern and stylish Hillside Manor is available only to accommodate overflow from Camdeboo Manor.

In addition to the game drives, full-board guests will enjoy sublime country cuisine from Camdeboo’s chefs, who come right to your doorstep and add a contemporary twist to recipes dating back to the settlers. Effort is made to set up immaculately appointed tables in a variety of locations, ranging from the fire-warmed dining room to the outdoor boma and the secluded courtyard.

Sustenance is most definitely needed at Camdeboo, as the reserve offers a variety of activities ranging from guided bush walks to cheetah tracking and a ‘Project Walk’ that allows you to visit the sable-, buffalo-and mountain zebra-breeding programmes.

Extra special care has been taken to accommodate kids, who can partake in activities such as fun bug safaris, marshmallow toasting and Easter egg hunts, and an assortment of toys and DVDs are available for use.

Guided tours can be arranged to some of the area’s most fascinating attractions, which include fossil trails, Africa’s largest cactus collection, the magnificent Valley of Desolation and the historic town of Graaff-Reinet.

Rates & Summary

Camdeboo Manor

4 Double Rooms

Each sleeps 2 in King-size bed
En-suite bath, shower and double basins
Seating area
Communal lounge and dining area with fireplace
Direct access to private courtyard, garden and pool

Standard Room

Sleeps 2 in King-size bed
En-suite bath, shower and double basins

Courtyard Manor (self-catering)

Sleeps 8 guests in 4 King-size rooms
En-suite bath, shower and double basins
Indoor and outdoor dining areas
Wraparound verandah
Direct access to private garden and pool

Hillside Manor

3 Double Suites

Each sleeps 2 in King-size bed
En-suite bath, shower and double basins
Only available at discretion when all accommodation is full


  • R4 310 - R 5 690 pp sharing


All inclusive or self-catering options are available


Children of all ages are welcome.
Cots are available.
There is a comprehensive range of kids’ activities available.

Why Stay Here?

Situated in the Sneeuberg Mountain range of the Great Karoo, the hauntingly beautiful reserve covers a vast area of mountains and Karoo vegetation and is home to a wide range of wildlife. It also has one of the richest collections of fossils in South Africa, several rare animal-breeding projects and a historic Anglo-Boer War site, while being exceptionally accommodating to children. Mount Camdeboo Private Game Reserve offers exclusive full-board or self-catering accommodation in three luxuriously restored manors.


  • Luxuriously restored original homesteads from a bygone era
  • Beautiful escape into mountainous Karoo backcountry
  • A variety of game on the reserve, including cheetah


For utmost privacy, groups can book out one of the manors.

Things to consider Bringing

Sunblock, hat, walking shoes, swimming costume, swimming towels, golf clubs, binoculars for bird watching/game viewing.

Road Conditions

The gravel roads leading to the manors are suitable for all vehicles.

Activities & Attractions

  • Swimming pools
  • Game drives
  • Bush walks
  • Cheetah interaction
  • Various breeding projects
  • Stargazing
  • Paardefontein battle site
  • Beauty treatments and massages
  • Gym
  • Curio shop

Nearby: fossil trails, cactus collection, Valley of Desolation, hiking trails, horse riding, quad biking, golf course, historical tour of Graaff-Reinet.


Accommodation & Hospitality

  • Communal lounge
  • Dining table
  • Verandah / patio
  • Air conditioning
  • Electric blanket included
  • Fireplace
  • Firewood provided
  • Under floor heating
  • Bed linen supplied
  • Bathroom towels supplied
  • Swimming towels supplied
  • Hair dryer available
  • Daily housekeeping
  • Laundry service available
  • Ironing service available
  • Self-service tea and coffee available
  • No smoking indoors

Catering & Kitchen

  • Full board
  • No Restaurant
  • Licensed
  • Full Kitchen
  • Braai area available
  • Microwave oven
  • Gas stove
  • Hot Plates
  • Fridge and freezer
  • Fully stocked with cleaning materials


  • Water supply good for drinking
  • Electric geysers
  • Eskom electricity

Leisure Amenities

  • No gym available
  • Swimming pool
  • Satellite television
  • Garden

Business & Connectivity

  • Free Wi-Fi
  • No cell phone reception
  • Limited business centre
  • Conference facilities available

Access & Convenience

  • Limited wheelchair friendliness
  • Babysitting available
  • Very child friendly
  • No pets allowed
  • Off street parking
  • Nearest shops further than 50km
  • Nearest fuel further than 50km
  • Shuttle service can be arranged


  • Credit cards accepted
  • EFT accepted
  • Cash accepted


  • Personal safe
  • 24 hour security




Karoo Heartland

Eastern Cape


The Karoo Heartland area lies in the Eastern Cape province, inland from the busy coastal city of Port Elizabeth. It embraces the eastern landscapes of the Great Karoo and, like the rest of this vast and semi-arid region, it is sparsely populated and little developed.

Rising in the north-west of the region are the Sneeuberg mountains. As their name suggests, the higher reaches are often draped in a blanket of snow during winter. Further east they link up with the Bankberg range. From here the landscape drops in altitude in a series of gentle slopes and rolling foothills.

For the motorist, the steep gradients are traversed via the winding roads of the Lootsberg, Naudesberg, Ouberg and Wapadsberg passes. In the south the landscape flattens out in a sweeping flat expanse, referred to as the plains of Camdeboo. In the eastern extremes the traditional Karoo scrub gives way to waving grasslands, tall slender aloes and tree-choked gorges.

Amongst the koppies and expansive plains are small rural towns like Graaff Reinet, Cradock and Nieu Bethesda. All of these are popular with visitors and well-known for their fine architecture and enduring charm. Graaff Reinet is best known for its magnificent stone church, the historic Drostdy with its colourful Stretch’s Court. It also has tranquil tree-lined streets sporting grand old houses and quaint cottages.

On its outskirts, the 19 000ha Camdeboo National Park almost encircles the town and protects the habitats and wildlife of the area. Within its boundaries stand the pillars of balancing rock that make the Valley of Desolation so intriguing. Nearby, the Sundays River flows into the Nqweba Dam.

A short drive north, at the base of the towering Kompasberg Peak, is Nieu Bethesda. Its main attractions are the Owl House with its artwork, and the mythical figures in the Camel Yard. The town is loved by seekers of tranquillity who come to escape in its rural charm and laid-back ambience.

In the east the busy, upbeat town of Cradock on the banks of the Fish River boasts a wealth of interesting architecture. The best preserved of examples form part of the well-known Tuishuise.

Each year canoeists converge on the area for the annual Fish River canoe marathon.

Cradock’s natural icon comes in the form of the Mountain Zebra National Park. This expanse was proclaimed in order to protect the endangered mountain zebra, which now number around 300 in the park. The variety of game includes cheetah, Cape buffalo and black rhinoceros. The landscape varies from rugged mountains to plateau grasslands.

Throughout the region there is a cultural richness, and strong traditions still survive in the towns and on the farms. With an extensive network of gravel back roads that lead to hidden farms and stunning views, the Karoo Heartlands is ideally suited to the explorer. It’s also home to large game lodges, 4x4 trails, hiking and mountain bike routes, fishing, and birdwatching.

Look out for

Camdeboo National Park – on the outskirts of Graaff Reinet, this 19 000ha park protects some of the low-lying plains as well as the mountainous terrain in the area. It contains the Valley of Desolation. Within its boundaries are 12 species of large game and 225 bird species. There are several hikes, varying from a 1.5 km stroll to a day walk and an overnight trail. 4x4 enthusiasts have a choice of either the Koedoeskloof or Driekoppe trails. There is a tented camp and some campsites are being developed in the park. 

The Valley of Desolation - is formed by the extraordinary geology of the mountains that create impressive dolerite rock pillars, which are easily seen from various viewpoints along the walking trails. En route to the main viewpoint a toposcope stands on a small koppie, from where there is a magnificent view of Graaff Reinet.

Mountain Zebra National Park – situated 12km from Cradock, the park nestles amongst the craggy heights of the Bankberg mountains in the far eastern area of the region. Proclaimed in 1937, the park embraces undulating plains and plunging valleys where the Cape mountain zebra was saved from extinction. Accommodation is in the restored Victorian homestead at Doornhoek (that sleeps 6), or in cottages and campsites at the main rest camp. There is an à la carte restaurant, a shop selling basic commodities, a fuel station and a swimming pool. Day visitors are welcome.

The Owl House – this iconic house was created by eccentric artist Helen Martins. It became famous by being featured in world-renowned playwright Athol Fugard’s film, ‘The Road to Mecca’. Obsessed with the interplay of light, colour and reflection, martins covered walls, ceilings, windows and other surfaces with bright paint and glass. The effect is amplified by the many candles, lamps and mirrors she collected. The Owl House is rated a premier ‘outsider art’ destination and attracts 15 000 visitors annually, from all over the world. It’s open to the public daily (except Christmas day). Opening times: 09h00-17h00 in April to September / 08h00-18h00 in October to May.

Blouwater Railway - for a rail journey with a difference give Charles Kingwill a call to book a seat on his rail van, which trundles up the 11km-long Lootsberg Railway Pass and back. He can take a maximum of 9 passengers per trip. Trips run from Monday to Saturday between 09h00 and 15h00. It takes 2 hours, and you can take your own picnic and refreshments.

Tuishuise –mention Cradock and the first places that come to mind are the historic Tuishuise. Even if you’re not planning to stay overnight (although you should), make a point of exploring Market Street where they are situated. 

When to go

To Do

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