The Karoo Desert National Botanical Garden (NBG) is home to several interesting animal species. The biggest variety of animals can be seen in the cultivated section of the Garden, but if you want to spot one of the larger mammals there are two hiking trails, the Grysbokkie trail and the Shale trail, in the natural area where one is more likely to see the larger mammals in the early mornings or late afternoons.

Below are some of the animals you might see in the Garden.



  • Dassie, rock hyrax (Procavia capensis)
  • Small grey mongoose (Galerella pulverulenta)
  • Scrub hare (Lepus saxatilis)
  • Cape grysbok (Raphicerus melanotis)
  • Caracal (Felis caracal)
  • The nocturnal Cape porcupine (Hystrix africaeaustralis)



  • Angulate tortoise (Chersina angulata)
  • Leopard tortoise (Stigmochelys pardalis)
  • Parrot beaked padloper (Homopus areolatus)
  • Robertson dwarf chameleon (Bradypodion gutturale)



  • Gymnogene (Polyboroides typus)
  • Klaas cuckoo (Chrysococcyx klaas)
  • Cape francolin (Pternistes capensis)
  • Spotted eagle owl (Bubo africanus)

Ninety-five bird species have been identified in the garden so far. The 1 km Desert Birds trail is a must for bird lovers. The storyboards on the trail cover various related topics such as feather and flight, gardening for birds and how climate change affects arid zone birds.

Download the Karoo Desert NBG Bird Checklist.


The most important animals in the Karoo Desert NBG are the little ones like the bees, beetles, butterflies and the small sunbirds. These pollinators make it possible to give visitors a spectacular display of flowers year after year.

For the latest animal species list of the garden, send your request via email to

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