Karoo Gariep Nature Reserve, New Holme: Embrace the magic of the Karoo!
Text and images by Carin Malan
The Karoo Gariep Nature Reserve is situated just outside Hanover, Northern Cape Province, with easy access just off the N1 (8km). Highlights at the reserve are the abundance of birds, wonderful Karoo landscapes and, of course, the nocturnal animals that are very special.
This lovely jewel was discovered by us after an auction in lieu of the BirdLife Overberg Golf day in support of the Clean Marine campaign. Thank you, PC, for sponsoring the price – you have indirectly assisted BirdLife Overberg to keep our oceans clean.
PC Ferreira the owner’s love of nature conservation, made him take on the huge task of including the full length of the Seekoei River on his property under formal conservation. PC’s passion for conservation is driving him to continue to develop New Holme. A variety of comfortable accommodation options is available and the reserve can cater for up to 50 guests. This makes for an ideal breakaway for birding groups and clubs.
We arrived late in the afternoon after a long trek from home and were welcomed Karoo style “like old friends” and with a beautifully prepared meal!
The next morning we joined PC, and avid twitcher himself, on a wonderful early morning birding outing. Highlights included species such as the Denham’s Bustard, Pink-billed Lark, Lark-like Bunting, Black-headed Canary, Grey-backed Sparrow-Lark, Yellow-bellied Eremomela and then the BIG ONES in the Burchell’s Courser and Blue Korhaan!! PC has until now recorded 205 bird species at New Holme.
We counted as many as 240 Blue Cranes, but PC promised us an even bigger spectacle of our National Bird for the evening. After a fantastic breakfast and playing with Seun, “the month-old Springbok”, we birded in the lovely lush gardens around the guesthouse.
The sunset drive was a spectacular affair. We were joined by the whole Ferreira family, with all four daughters being back from school for the holidays. We enjoyed a lovely braai on the banks of the Seekoei River. We enjoyed the last rays of the sun, with the Grey-winged Francolins’s alarm calls, the hippo’s snorting, but the highlight was undoubtedly more than 200 Blue Cranes coming in to roost …….. The roosterkoek and Karoo lamb chops off the grid just tasted so much better!
Soon after dinner we were loaded onto the Landie to take part in the “SHY 5 NIGHT DRIVE”, a special feature of visits to New Holme. We spotted the Bat-eared Fox, porcupine, Cape Fox, Shrub Hare and Spotted Genet, but we were extremely excited to also find the tiny and rare Black-footed Cat. We dipped on the Aardvark, but PC did show us this elusive animals’ holes and even some dung.
Thank you PC and family for helping us to embrace the magic of the Karoo! Visit their website at www.karoogariep.co.za