During the late 1950s a local farmer and avid birder, William Quinton, campaigned for a conservation area in the Beaufort West vicinity.
However, it was only in the 1970s that South African National Parks (SANParks) proposed the establishment of a national park that would be representative of the Nama-Karoo biome. The South African Nature Foundation (SANF), funded through the commission and sale of special art stamps depicting the flora and fauna of the Great Karoo, campaigned to make this happen.
In a gesture of support, the Town Council of Beaufort West donated 7 209ha of communal land north-west of the town to SANParks. This area then formed the nucleus of Karoo National Park, proclaimed in 1979. SANF purchased additional land to be incorporated into the Park, and in 1989 a luxury rest camp was opened.
With Karoo’s arid to semi-arid climate, there is no good or bad time for wildlife viewing. It is pretty steady throughout the year. Summer and winter have extreme temperatures, so the best time to visit is in spring (Aug, Sept) and autumn (April, May) when the days are warm, but not hot, and the nights mild. August to September is a particularly beautiful time as a brief period of flowers can be expected, depending on the rain.