Early history of Camdeboo National Park includes evidence of occupation in the area by early, middle and later stone-age people. Stone-age industry sites can be found on the south-eastern plains of the Park where artefacts located there range from scrapers, blades and grinding stones, to percussion-made hand axes. The eastern section of the Park holds evidence of rock paintings left by Khoisan hunters during the late stone age.
Vast soil erosion and an increase in unpalatable plants have occurred due to many years of overgrazing by commonage livestock and the introduction of alien plant life in recent times.
The Karoo Nature Reserve was established in 1979 when the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and the World Wildlife Fund acknowledged the urgency for conservation measures in the Karoo biome. Nineteen thousand one hundred and thirty seven hectares of the Graaff-Reinet municipal commonage was purchased and donated by the World Wildlife Fund in South Africa (WWF-SA) which was to become the Karoo Nature Reserve managed by provincial authorities.
After an extensive process of discussion and negotiation between government, conservation groups and relevant stakeholders, Camdeboo National Park was proclaimed as a national park under the management of South African National Parks (SANParks) on the 30th October 2005, with the contract of sale being signed on the 24th July 2006.
The beautiful Winterhoek area was later added to Camdeboo National Park thereby extending the Park’s size to 19 137 hectares. Before his death, Dr. Anton Rupert embarked on negotiations with the owners of the Winterhoek farm and planned to donate this land to the Park once he had purchased it. Dr. Rupert’s family honoured his wishes - they bought the Winterhoek farm, paid for the restorations and donated this beautiful piece of land to the Camdeboo National Park.