Two new 4x4 eco-trails have opened at the Karoo National Park near Beaufort West. The new trails provide an opportunity for visitors to experience a new area of the almost 90 000-hectare Karoo National Park. Routes are open only to visitors with 4x4 vehicles.
The Nuweveld Trail follows a 90-kilometre route into the western section of the Park, starting off the relatively new Potlekkertjie Loop which was opened in October 2008. Approximately 50 kilometres of this trail is a Grade one 4x4 trail with some steep, rocky sections and sandy dry river crossings.
The first section of the Nuweveld Trail travels through riverine thicket before heading onto the plains and then climbing onto the foothills of the Nuweveld Mountains. The route then heads onto the lower plains in the Sandrivier area, before linking up again with the Potlekkertjie Loop via the Afsaal Trail.
About 20 kilometres from the start of the trail, visitors will find the Embizweni Cottage which provides an ideal place for an overnight stay in a remote and tranquil location.
Embizweni Cottage has spectacular views of the Nuweveld Mountains to the east and the area is frequented by large herds of eland, gemsbok and individual black rhino. Cape mountain zebra, red hartebeest and kudu can also be seen as well as Verraux's eagle and kori and Ludwig's bustard.
The cottage provides fully-equipped accommodation for six people with a gaspowered stove, fridge and geysers as well as solar-powered lights. A fireplace in the living room provides a cosy atmosphere in winter.
The shorter Afsaal Trail is a 13-kilometre route which provides a challenging drive in wet conditions. The trail, commencing off the Potlekkertjie Loop, travels south and then east before linking up with the Potlekkertjie Loop again.
Visitors can enjoy both the Nuweveld and Afsaal Routes free of charge. A stay in Embizweni Cottage is very affordable.