Great news for the Karoo National Park! Lions were released into their natural habitat, last Wednesday near Beaufort West. This brings lions back into the area for the first time in 170 years. The last wild lion was shot in 1842. 8 lions were released (2 males, 2 lionesses and 4 cubs) becoming the first wild, free-ranging lions in the Great Karoo.

Visitors will now be able to experience both the unique atmosphere and tranquility of the Karoo as well as the thrill of spotting lions in the wild. The Karoo National Park has traditionally always been used by visitors as a one-night stopover between Cape Town and the interior, but with the introduction of lions as well as the new developments such as 4×4 trails, it will transform this Park and the surrounding area into a two or three night destination.

Visitors will still be able to experience the Park on foot as hiking trails such as the Pointer and Bossie Trails will be run as guided hikes, at no extra cost, departing at various times of the day. Predator-proof fencing has been completed around the 176-kilometre perimeter of the almost 90 000 hectare-Karoo National Park to minimise the risk of lions exiting the Park onto neighbouring properties.

SANParks will initially monitor the lions closely with the aid of tracking collars fitted before the release to check what habitats the lions use, what prey species they target as well as to record their movements. Visit for more info.