In the Karoo National Park near Beaufort West there is a protected area in which the original Karoo vegetation is being at least partially re-established. The 32.000 ha reserve is home to an abundance of Karoo animals. Besides springbok, kudu and dassie, one can also observe panther tortoises in the inhospitable plains, the largest tortoises in southern Africa.
The Karoo and particularly the Karoo National Park are known for numerous fossil finds, some of which are estimated to be over 300 million years old. These finds mainly stem from the middle ages of the earth history, the mesozoicum. In those ages, the entire Karoo was covered by a great inland sea, which deposited huge amounts of sand and mud on its ground. After the sea had dried out, intense volcanic activities started. Within millions of years the soft sandstone was eroded and only the hard volcanic stone remained. The results are the cone and table shaped mountains, which abound everywhere in the Karoo.