Karoo Research Centre

UPCOMING EVENT AT THE KAROO RESEARCH CENTRE: Bird ringing course: 9 to 15 September 2024. Details here

This Bokmakierie was ringing at the Karoo Research Centre
One of the privileges of being a bird ringer is the opportunity to see birds up close. The opportunity to see the detail of the Bokmakierie’s feathers, the colour of the eye, and the complex patterns in it, and the opportunity to grasp the reality that you don’t want to be an insect when that weapon is on the hunt for food!

There are two reports from last year’s bird ringing course at the Karoo Research Centre, Part 1 and Part 2.


The Karoo Research Centre is a collaboration between the KhoiSan Karoo Conservancy and the Biodiversity and Development Institute (BDI). It is based at New Holme Nature Lodge, the main accommodation lodge in the conservancy, located in the Northern Cape Province between Hanover and Colesberg and 8 km off the N1.

Map showing location of the Karoo Research Centre

In contrast to atlas projects such as the Southern African Bird Atlas Project (SABAP2) and the butterfly atlas (LepiMAP) which focus on patterns at a broad scale, our initial objective for the Karoo Research Centre is fine-scale biodiversity monitoring.

We launched the Karoo Research Centre in February 2022 and are currently developing the fieldwork protocols that will serve as the basis of our research. We aim to create protocols with enough structure to deliver critical insights into changes in Karoo biodiversity, but which also remain straightforward and accessible for implementation by citizen scientists throughout the Karoo.

By good fortune, we started our monitoring at a peak in seasonal wetness in the Karoo. By February 2022, the KhoiSan Karoo Conservancy had already received its normal average rainfall for the summer season. The Seekoei River was flowing strongly and the New Holme Dam had been overflowing for weeks. This region was enjoying more water than it had in decades.

Once we have obtained sufficient results to establish our credentials, the Karoo Research Centre will receive a formal launch. In the meantime, come and spend a night or two here, and experience the excitement of establishing a new initiative for yourself! We are almost exactly halfway between Johannesburg and Cape Town.

To follow updates and news on the Karoo Research Centre, and all our other awesome projects, be sure to follow the BDI on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.