Project Description

Due to the hot conditions, the Great Karoo has a diverse range of reptiles and tortoises.

Species to look out for

Karoo toad

The Karoo Toad (Bufo gariepensis) is a species of toad in the Bufonidae family. This square, thick-set toad is larger-sized than other species in the same genus. But, it’s not the size of the Karoo Toad that makes it special. Rather, its the way it moves. We all know toads to hop, but the Karoo Toad walks and runs and can only hop for like other toads for short distances. So, while driving to Nieu Bethesda, keep an eye out for toads walking across the road.

Plain Mountain Adder

The Plain Mountain Adder, also called the hornless adder and the Cape puff adder, is a rare venomous viper species, that is found in only two locations. There is an isolated population of these adders on on the Sneeuberg mountain near Nieu Bethesda.
The Plain Mountain Adder is dull reddish-brown, but like most adders, has faint darker blotches on the back. It hides under rocks during the day but may come out to catch some of the Karoo sun. It feeds on lizards and small rodents. There is no record of a human bite from these adders, but the venom of the plain mountain adder would probably be comparable to those of other small adders.

Source: Johan Marais. What’s that Snake.


  • Common egg eater
  • Brown house snake
  • Cape Cobra
  • Dapple-backed sand-snake/Karoo whip snake
  • Rhombic skaapsteker/spotted skaapsteker
  • Rinkhals
  • Dwarf Garter Snake
  • Common Puff-adder
  • Cape Berg-adder
  • Coral snake
  • Cross-marked Sand Snake
  • Boomslang
  • Herald Snake
  • Black-headed Centipede eater
  • Mole Snake
  • Cape Wolf Snake
  • Olive-brown Water-snake
  • Lalande‚Äôs Blind Snake


  • Golden sand-skink/golden legless skink
  • Karoo thick-tailed gecko
  • Kalahari spiny agama
  • Rock agama/Blue headed agam
  • Chameleon
  • Smoothed-backed girdled lizard/Karoo girdle-tailed lizard
  • Namaqua sand lizard
  • Ocellated sand lizard/bluespotted sand lizard
  • Striped skink
  • Cape skink
  • Koppie skink
  • Bibron’s gecko
  • Smith’s Cape gecko
  • Large-spotted gecko/common pufadder gecko
  • Marico gecko
  • Eastern Cape crag-lizard
  • Rock leguaan


  • Angulate tortoise
  • Mountain tortoise
  • Karoo padloper
  • Cape terrapin
  • Tent tortoise


  • Karoo toad
  • Pigmy Toad
  • Common caco
  • Cape river frog
  • Clicking stream frog
  • Striped Pyxie