Tankwa National Park

Tankwa Karoo National Park

Office: Mon-Thur | 08:00-17:00; Fri | 08:00-21:00
Sat | 08:00; Sun | 10:00-16:00
Arrivals for Accommodation from 14:00 Daily
 
+27(0)27 341 1927
Cape Peninsula
www.sanparks.org
Tankwa@sanparks.org
SANParks
Tankwa National Park

Tankwa Karoo National Park

Space and tranquillity in abundance

There is something innately appealing about wide open spaces filled with nothing but animals, birds and landscapes that stretch as far as the eye can see. Even the most urban of city lovers need time out to switch off their smartphones, power down their laptops and just be.

The Tankwa Karoo National Park is 143 600 hectares of Karoo veld in a basin between the Cederberg mountain range and the Roggeveld. Here, you’ll find space, solitude and tranquillity: everything you need on a holiday.

“It’s so open and wide,” says Letsie Coetzee, the section ranger at the park. “You’re in solitude, even though there are other people in the park.” As well as the peace and quiet she says the landscapes are one of the park’s main features: “There’s always something new, even if you’ve seen it a thousand times before.” 

The park straddles the Western Cape and Northern Cape boundary with most of the park lying within the Northern Cape Province. Due to recent acquisitions, around a fifth of the park’s total area now includes mountainous cliffs and higher lying areas of the Roggeveld Escarpment, thereby giving a whole other dimension to the park.

Stop at Ceres and stock up on essentials (and fruit juice, which the area is famous for), it’s the last town before you enter the park (when coming from Cape Town). Letsie advises driving in a high clearance vehicle as the roads can be hard to navigate, but not impossible, on cars with low bumpers.

Things to do:
Switch off
– turn off your cellphone (you’ll struggle to get reception anyway) and bring that book that’s been sitting next to your bed unread for months.
Bird watch
– keep an eye out for the curious Burchell's Courser.
Star gaze
– the absence of city lights reveal a star studded sky (take a two hour detour to Sutherland’s Observatory to see the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) which is the largest single optical telescope in the southern hemisphere)
Capture the beauty
– bring along your medium of choice; sketchbook, camera or canvas and let the natural beauty inspire you.
Build a snowman – every so often snow falls within the 1200m above sea-level Gannaga Section of the park, giving an unexpected addition to your photo album for an area better known for its desert-scapes.
4x4 – The park has two major 4x4 trails called Leeuberg and Watervlei, which requires some skill to navigate, while other tracks in the park are fairly easy going where 4x4ing is concerned. 

Accommodation:
There’s a variety of places to stay, ranging from cottages and guesthouses to informal areas where you can pitch your tent.

Cottages and guesthouses:

Elandsberg Wilderness Camp
This camp consists of five cottages; all built using unbaked clay-and-straw bricks with sections of walls built with rock. These range from two-sleepers to a two bedroom cottage that can sleep up to six. They all have covered braai areas, gas appliances and linen as well as crockery and cutlery. Paraffin lamps and candles are also provided.
Tip:  Each cottage has a splash pool (great for kids).

Tanqua Guesthouse Complex
This guesthouse is right on the southern border of the park making it a convenient place to stay for larger groups (up to 18 guests) if you’re coming from Cape Town. There are four places to choose from, ranging from a two sleeper to a separate family unit that sleeps eight. These self-catering units are fully equipped with towels and linen, with the three units within the main building sharing a kitchen, living room and a braai area adjacent to the courtyard swimming pool. Catering can also be provided on advance notice.
Tip: The accommodation is reminiscent of a desert fort, and is approximately 5km from the Oudebaaskraal Dam and has been used for weddings, teambuilding and film shoots. Plus, there’s a 900m airstrip if you plan to fly in.

Paulshoek Cottage
This old farmstead was restored in 2003, the open plan living room and kitchen are furnished with antiques and the two bedrooms can sleep up to six people. There’s a two-plate stove and a fridge both powered by gas but you’ll have to stoke up the donkey boiler to get hot water for the shower. On a winter’s day, an old wood stove in the cottage provides cosy heat taking you down memory lane to Grandma’s kitchen. There’s no electricity, however candles and paraffin lamps are provided, as well as linen, cutlery and crockery.
Tip: Enjoy the beautiful views of the imposing Roggeveld Escarpment and plains as well as the antics of visitors to the close-by waterhole while you braai outside.

Varschfontein Cottage
This is also an old farmhouse, restored in 2005, but this one sleeps up to nine people in three rooms. You’ll need a high clearance vehicle to reach the cottage especially in winter. The fully equipped cottage comes with a gas two-plate stove and fridge – hot water can be made using the donkey boiler and paraffin lamps and candles are provided. There are indoor and outdoor fireplaces.
Tip: This is a good choice if you’re looking for complete solitude.

De Zyfer Cottage
This old farmhouse, with its traditional stoep and hearth, dates back to the early 1900s and was renovated in 2009. It sleeps up to six in its two rooms with a queen-sized sleeper couch in the living room. Candles are provided for light and there’s a donkey boiler that you can fire up for hot showers. It’s fully equipped with a gas fridge and stove plus crockery, cutlery and linen.
Tip:
  This is a good bird watching spot as there’s an earth dam nearby.

Official camp sites:

Langkloof
There are two camp sites, each with a bathroom and a kitchen area (without cooking facilities). There’s a gas geyser for hot showers, braai facilities (but you’ll need to bring your own grids), a carport and paraffin lamps. The site is in the scenic upper reaches of the Langkloof, 18km from the Park Reception at Roodewerf.
Tip: You’ll generally need a high clearance 2x4 vehicle to get there and a 4x4 when it’s been raining. 

Perdekloof
This is a newly developed camping area, which will opened during April 2012. There are six sites, each with their own bathroom and kitchen. Gas geysers supply you with hot water and lighting is by means of solar power. No other electrical points are available. Braai facilities are supplied, but no grids. The campsites are about 10km from the Park Reception and adjacent to the Hoenderhoek tributary of the Rhenoster River. Kudu can be regularly seen strolling among the thick brush adjacent to the campsites and Cape Mountain Zebra has also made the mountainous surrounds their home.
Tip: A high clearance 2x4 vehicle is fine, but you’ll be better off with a 4x4 if it’s been raining.

Informal camp sites:

There are six areas in the park for self-sufficient campers, each site is reserved solely for the group that books it so you’ll be free to enjoy the area without tripping over someone else’s tent strings. None of them have ablution facilities so this is for those of you that really like to rough it. Come prepared to leave nothing but your footprints behind.

Pyper se Boom
This site is on the way to the Langkloof section of the park and you’ll need a high clearance vehicle to reach it (a 4x4 during the rainy winter months). There is some shade under the trees.
Tip: Keep an eye out for the kudu and other small antelope that have been spotted in the area.

Steenkampshoek
You’ll need a 4x4 to get to this site and it’s a good idea to bring a canopy as there’s no shade.
Tip: This site has a spectacular panoramic view of the Tanqua Karoo Basin, with the Roggeveld cliffs in the background.

Skaapwagterspos
A high-clearance 2x4 will get you there and you can enjoy the shade of the Pepper Tree on this site.
Tip: Gemsbok, duiker, Cape mountain zebra and red hartebeest all frequent this hilly area.

Oom Rickert se Huis
In the rainy season you’ll need a 4x4 to get to this site, which has shade provided by Acacia Karoo trees.
Tip: Kudu and other small antelope have been seen in this Langkloof section of the park.

Volmoersfontein
You’ll need a 4x4 in the rainy seasons but a carefully driven 2x4 with high clearance will do fine otherwise. There aren’t trees in the area but the site is adjacent to an old ruin.
Tip: You might spot the Burchell's Courser in this area so keep your eyes peeled for this famous long-legged inhabitant of the park.

Biesjesfontein
If it’s been raining you’ll need a 4x4, otherwise a high clearance car will work. The camp site is near an old ruin but there aren’t any shade-providing trees in the area.
Tip:
Look out for Cape mountain zebra and gemsbok.

By Lindsay Callaghan

Check out the Facebook album of this beautiful national park and see what else SANParks has to offer and stay in the loop with our monthly and free newsletter and follow us on Twitter and Facebook

Cape Town Events Calendar
May 2016
SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31

cafe Roux SessionsCafé Roux Sessions in Noordhoek

Enjoy an intimate evening of live music with South Africa’s most talented ...

SA Cheese Festival cheeseSouth African Cheese Festival

If you’re in the mood for Bries and blues then head to this cheesy foodie fest

District Six Kanala Musical in Cape Town District Six - Kanala Musical

David Kramer brings another lekker local production to the Mother City

Cape Town Kidz ExpoCape Town Kidz Expo

Bring the family along to this magical day filled with entertainment for ...

Barleycorn Music FestivalThe Barleycorn Music Festival

See talented local musicians perform at this legendary folk music club’s 41st ...

Red Bull BC OneRed Bull BC One Dance Battle at the ...

Break it down at the South African Cypher of this global B-Boy competition

Elgin Cool Wine and Country FestivalElgin Cool Wine and Country Festival

Join in the merriment at Elgin Valley’s annual food and wine fiesta

Murder Mystery Dinners in Cape TownMurder Mystery Dinner Parties Cape Town

Intrigue, secrecy and cold-blooded killings are the order of the day at these ...

Infecting the CityInfecting the City Sessions in Cape Town

See cutting edge performance and visual arts hit the public spaces of the ...

Andalucian NightsAndalucian Nights at the Baxter Theatre

Listen to the sounds of Spain with acoustic flamenco flair

SAs Got TalentSA’s Got Talent Auditions

Have you got a talent that South Africa needs to see? Submit your pre-audition ...

Cape Town Dive FestivalCape Town Dive Festival

Explore our beautiful reefs and oceans off the South Peninsula at this two day ...

Cape Town PrideThe Knysna Pink Loerie

Celebrate gay pride in the Garden Route’s queen city

DecorexDecorex Cape Town

Tap into cutting-edge trends at South Africa’s premier décor, design and ...

Lambertsbaai KreeffeesLambertsbaai Kreeffees

Join in the merriment with plenty of shellfish at the annual Lambert’s Bay ...

Suidoosterfees 2015 Suidoosterfees in Cape Town

Celebrate Kaapse culture and heritage with a series of colourful concerts, ...

Cape Town Concert SeriesCape Town Concert Series at the Baxter ...

Add a sweet melody to the end of your summer with these stirring and soulful ...

High Five Kite Surfer in Cape TownKitesurfing Lessons Special

Learn to kitesurf but leave the soaring costs behind

AfrikaBurn1Afrikaburn Festival

The dusty Karoo desert comes alive to host one of the most radical festivals on ...

Bob Marley cover bandLive Music Tuesday at Cafe Mojito

Kick off your week with a night of local jamming at Long Street’s beloved ...

Cape Bike TravelChauffeured motorbike rides around Cape ...

Arrive in style and see the Mother City from the back of a Harley-Davidson ...

Stand Up Paddle Boarding with High Five Cape TownStand Up Paddle Board Group Lesson ...

Learn to SUP for 25 - 50% less thanks to High Five

The Darling CollectionThe Darling Collection Arts Showcase

The stories behind a quaint town’s most precious objects told through art

Damn Vandal Art ExhibitionDamn Vandal ‘Other Worldly’ ...

Gorgeous graffiti-inspired artworks await at this urban-style exhibit

OneSight Concert at the WaterfrontThe OneSight Acoustics Finale

Enjoy a musical delight and give others the gift of sight

Cape Town Youth Choir Handel's Messiah 1SA College of Music Concert Series

Music has the power to inspire, and these scholars appreciate its true meaning

River Club 2016 1Golfer’s Breakfast Special at the ...

Make the most of the weekend with a morning of good grub and elegant swings

McGregor Poetry FestivalMcGregor Poetry Festival

The perfect fest for aspiring poets and lovers of words

The Village Idiot Restaurant & Bar in Cape TownSunday Winter Craftsmen Braai at The ...

Celebrate the last day of the week with blazing fires and epic food experiences ...

Love Factually - 2Alan Committie in Love Factually

Love to be in love? Love to laugh? Then Alan Committie is your knight in ...

City Hall by Joshua OatesAutumn Symphony Season

A classical way to spend an autumn evening in the city

Backtracker Cycling Back UnitCycling Events in the Western Cape

Use this handy cycling overview to diarise your favourite events for the ...

aFREAKa Clothing Kid White Tiger OnesieaFREAKa Clothing Kids Onesies

Treat your little ones to a fun and trendy top quality animal or INYE onesie

The Underwater ExhibitionUnderwater Cape Town Exhibition

A kaleidoscope of skin comes to life in a popular pool

La Boheme District SixLa Boheme in District Six

A bohemian opera meets a bohemian district in this beautiful portrayal of a ...

Beerhouse Restaurant and Bar in Cape TownBeerrunch Weekend Brunch at Beerhouse ...

Spend the weekend with one of the best combinations known to man: tasty grub ...

Afrika Ablaze Unchained DanceAfrika Ablaze Unchained Dance Showcase

Imagine receiving a gift you can never open…

Woman King 2The Woman Who Would Be King

Esosa E takes you back nearly 4000 years…

Jungala 2016 - 5Jungala Trance Festival

Can you wait until next season for a good stomp session? No, we can’t ...

V&A Waterfront Get Active OutdoorsGet Fit for Free at the V&A Waterfront

Make getting fit fun (and free) this summer with this super series of classes

Good Company Farmers MarketGood Company Farmers' Market

Join the pigeons and the squirrels for a grand day out in the gardens

The Palms Market in WoodstockMarket at The Palms in Woodstock

Bringing country-style food to city tables every Saturday in Cape Town

Camissa Eco TourThe Eco-friendly Train Township Tour ...

Grow more than just your cultural quotient on this interactive excursion to the ...

Wine Flies Wine Tours Cape TownWine Flies Wine Tours

Experience the Cape Winelands like a local

WeatherGiveawaysTravel Tips

Curious to make exciting discoveries in Cape Town every day? "LIKE" us for a daily hidden gem.